Some people seem to have a natural gift for meeting new people and building relationships. There are a few things you may want to know about the truly great networkers:
They may tell you it’s easy, but they know it’s not. More specifically, they love making you think that “IT” is hard, but just that THEY are really good at it despite the difficulty. C’mon, you didn’t think that someone so good with people wouldn’t want to mess with everyone’s heads, right?
They’ve been doing it a long time! Someone who can “get a meeting with anyone” may or may not be the best at cold calling, or using just the right words to land that meeting, it’s more likely that they have deep relationships with individuals who are close to that “anyone” out there. The longer the list of good relationships in a particular space, the easier it is to get a nice intro and get that meeting.
Their public personality is carefully monitored and honed. Whatever their basic personality, they exude superlatives: They’re VERY outgoing, very strong-willed, very this, very that, etc. Whichever one they seem, know that they chose to capitalize on that long ago. Most likely, when they were younger they were told “wow you’re so ____” and after hearing that long enough they made a calculated decision to go with it. To capitalize on that as their brand. And now, it’s not just the outgoing ones who do this. The best networkers come from all personality types.
They are better at showing up than most. They will drive overnight, buy the expensive flight, and be at the ____ industry conference. Not only will they be there, but they’ll reach out to everyone else they think might be there – vendors, past co-workers, current and past customers, heck even their old boss they didn’t really like that much – and make a point to try to connect in person. They’ll book the inconvenient meeting and downplay the inconvenience of it. They’ll set up reminders to reach back out to you or anyone else they’ve met recently. That’s all part of showing up/being in the right places.
They’ll do more for you before you ever do anything for them. (And they really truly won’t mind.) It’s not that they’re the nicest people out there, but they’re extremely pragmatic. They know it works. No, they’re not trying to get you on the hook (watch out for those “you owe me types”) but they simply know human nature and are unafraid to capitalize on it. It’s TRUE that you or someone else will be more agreeable with helping them out in the future if they do anything they can for you now, right? They know this and are just honest about how the real world works. We all win in the long run.
They can visualize how we’re all connected in the grand scheme of things. They have better “court vision” or field vision as it’s called in sports. They see how everyone in this world eventually overlaps and they begin seeing those connections dynamically as you’re speaking with them. You mention a certain city or town, and their synapses automatically begin firing to make potential connections of *everyone* in their personal and extended networks how may be connected to *anyone* in your potential network. When they casually mention “Oh, my attorney has a house there” or ask “Hey have you ever met ____ from ____ company there” etc, just know that’s what’s going on. Also of note, is that with a few exceptions they’re really not just trying to brag and drop names. It’s more than that.
They understand and have experienced the power of human capital, or better put, relationship capital. When someone says “your reputation is all you have” they will agree. When someone says “it’s not what you know but who you know” they will actually know what that means and agree wholeheartedly to the truth behind it. Most people use that as a scapegoat for their inability to move forward, blaming those who are good with relationships for taking up space that should be reserved for more qualified or smarter people. Well, that’s too bad, because the networkers out there will very often get more opportunities, because they know that although skill is important, that relationships are more so, and that the power of their network is more powerful than they are, and harness that truth.
They only believe in what they do because they’ve seen it work. Once their networks start to pay them dividends (getting them a great job, helping get an important meeting that turns into a huge deal, etc) it becomes a drug and they throw all they can behind building up their networks. Up until that point it’s all guts and hope, with some doses of perhaps a good mentor telling them to keep honing their networks. But trust me, until it starts to “work” for a great networker, they’re going on fumes and they often fade out and end up settling. Only some really make it to that point where it looks to everyone else like things just fall into their laps. There’s a tipping point for each, and each has a different experience, but there was indeed some past experience that worked really well for them and pushed them over the edge in a positive way. Now that they have that belief in the power of their networks and their ability to work within that, they’re nearly unstoppable.
So, in summary, hats off to the great networkers out there! I owe so much to many of those people in my life. I aspire to be the best in this category and have a lot of great examples. Keep investing in your ability to network, it will most certainly bring in great rewards.
P.S. This can all be learned. Anyone who wants to get better simply needs to ask a great networker to share their secrets and I can almost guarantee they’ll be happy to share. Something to ensure the networker really gets talking is by simply acknowledging this would be a big help and that we all know how important a skill it is they’ve developed. Besides stroking the ego, it makes clear that the value is understood and their great advice won’t be wasted. Their time is extremely valuable, but as I’ve mentioned before, they believe in making time investments. Enjoy!!
Do both, but know when to focus on one or the other and in which capacity.
Following passions is great, but if it’s in a business sense, you could ruin your passions. For instance: someone loves to paint, so they leave their full time job in banking to “follow their passion” and paint full time. 6 months later, they’re broke, and hate painting. Extreme? Maybe, but you get the idea.
Following opportunities is great, but following blindly could lead to some pretty awful places. Example: you’re great at making money doing XYZ, but you say yes to every opportunity to do so, and become overworked, burnt out and have zero time for passions.
Follow both – decide what’s important and don’t get too caught up in either.
I’ve always wanted to actually create something. To be the originator of something special. Not just to work hard and deliver a lot of “someone else’s” stuff to the market, but something of my own or my team’s.
The questions I’m starting to ask more is “What are you going to create today”? I think about it for myself and my team, as well as for my clients.
The last few months I’ve been developing the first real piece of “something of mine” with my business partners. It’s an exciting feeling!
In one way, I am looking at this as a long-term and large-scale focus, which is what has driven the process just mentioned. But I’m also looking for short-term and small-scale things to create. Nothing major, but small, consistent things on a daily basis. This should help the creativity and encourage the mindset of creating.
I have a few ways to answer that. All of which are honest, depending on the translation and context. Here are a few scenarios, some of which are actual, some examples.
All of these can be true answers, so choose the option that best fit, know which one you lean towards, and be ok with it.
Option one: emotional update.
I am “doing” bad today because: I’m tired, I’m sad, broke, angry, confused, tired, frustrated the weather is ___, life is hard.
I am “doing” great today because: I’m happy, excited, rich, the weather is ___, people are being good to me, life is easy.
Option two: non-emotional current status.
I had a great, productive week, a fun time at _____, the family is all doing well, I had a great trip to ____.
Option three: non-emotional, aspirational update.
Things are really going great with ____ project, and I’m looking forward to ____ happening soon. Pendings are up, things are growing, no one is shooting at me, I’m not getting sued (or I am getting sued but winning).
Things are fantastic because this or that is happening, this person is helping us, this deal is going to close soon, this or that relationship is amazing, the weather is always great, things are hard but always getting better in the long run, we are so blessed, I feel healthy, tomorrow is a big day, next week will be huge.
We all choose how we answer “how are things going” based on how we view ourselves and the world. Depends on what we care to share, how much time we care to give to the answer, how much we care for/trust or don’t care for/trust the person asking and maybe a few other factors. All of the above can be true answers, so choose the option and know which one you lean towards and be ok with it.
After blasting off one of several emails on behalf of one of my all time favorite clients in the world today (a Saturday) as we were both working to wrap up a few team projects, he texted me and thanked me for being on top of this stuff and mentioned “it’s not too crowded on the extra mile”.
I’ve heard it before but not in this perfect context and I’ve never FELT it in the moment. So many people do just enough to get by, to make their mortgage, to not get fired, to not look bad, etc etc. When one wants to EXCEL though, it consistently takes being where you need to be, showing up more often and with better work than before. That might mean a Saturday a late night, or whatever city you need to hop a flight to. I’m not saying it has to be inefficient and painful like a commute at 6am (but it might for a while as you grow) but it’s more of the mindset of being willing to do those little things that so many others aren’t willing or don’t know how to do.
Thanks to my some of those in my crew for being of a like mind on this or it certainly wouldn’t be working in our case.
People love brainstorming “blue ocean” ideas where they’ll talk about how to create their own uncontested market space and make competition irrelevant. I’ve participated in those sessions and admit they are a blast. It’s a great tool for opening up business minds that might be stuck, get them out of the usual and explore where else you could go. At Beloved Brands, we always start with the consumer so that we ensure we are meeting the needs of consumers rather than blindly putting things out into the marketplace that no one wants. However, the second check is the competitive nature of your positioning to make sure I’m not blindly putting things out that someone is already doing. Murder and Strategy have one thing in common, they both start with opportunity. Yes, finding those blue ocean strategies, can create opportunities.However, the reality is that most brands play in a highly competitive space where every gain you make, comes at the expense of someone else, who is also constantly
See that at the end? The Success? Well then, it’s very simple isn’t it? Seeing failure instead of success is all a matter of timing. If you realize that it is part of the process towards success, then you know what will be coming next.
The real question is whether I’ll stick to a task or process long enough for it to become successful – the natural course of events. The Great Bambino, The Sultan of Swat, the one and only Babe Ruth once said “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.” He could only say that because he had decided to go to bat enough times to run the numbers successfully. To borrow an analogy from another American pastime, the reason most people fail instead of succeed is because they “punt on first down.”
Keep in mind, doing what you’ve always done will greatly slow down the failure to success problem. It is a LIFE principle and to be sure, but plenty of people have hit pause on their lives right in the middle of failure and never moved forward. The best way to succeed is not to NOT fail, but to try to never make the same mistake twice. Also, try to fail as fast as possible. If you’re going through any process avoiding failure, you’re also avoiding success.
We have monetary related “aire” titles and I thought a good word to create would be a “solutionaire.”
The definition of the first two is basically someone who has a million or a billion dollars, or relative value of other property. It’s about having.
However, the definition of this new word isn’t someone who simply has a million solutions. We all know someone who thinks they have all the answers but that’s not the point. My definition of a solutionaire is someone who not only has the creative mind to come up with many solutions, but then goes out and does something about it. It’s about taking action.