Sunday, June 23, 2013
"Generosity of Spirit" in Networking
"Generosity of Spirit" is necessary to find success from networking.
Often people think about networking as something you do when they need something from others. Too many people are absent from their business community until they are low on sales or out of work.... then WAMMO.... they show up. These people are the ones who say that networking does not work, and they cannot figure out why that one Chamber of Commerce happy hour they attended produced no return on investment.
To make a network of professional contact valuable you must invest time and effort in the other people. When it comes to successful connections you must make your relationship about the other people first. This means finding ways to help other people find the path to what they need. This could be via introductions, through sharing your knowledge, or by helping promote their cause.
Do things for others. Do not keep score. Assisting another person in achieving their goals will make you valuable. Trying to obtain stuff from them without establishing a relationship makes you a taker. Everyone prefers to be around givers. But it must be genuine. "Generosity of Spirit" is a lifestyle, not something you can rent.
Take the time to ask people what they are tying to accomplish in their business or personal life. While you will not be able to help everyone, you will be surprised how often their largest challenge is an easy fix. If you do not inquire, you could miss the chance to lend a hand.
It is surprising the reasons I hear from people who fail to be generous toward others. In our busy-focused society I hear from kind souls who admit they do not invest supporting others because they do not have time, as the pursuit of their own goals is all encompassing. The irony here is that if they did reach out and give, they would find more inbound assistance.
Usually it takes very little time to provide that hand up to someone else and make a real impact. We tend to think that being helpful will eat up the hours in our calendar, but often it is simple:
1. Introductions: A quick introduction email takes only a minute to execute. I have seen one introduction lead to huge opportunities for both parties involved. When you think their is value in two people meeting and you do not make the connection, it is a selfish act. There is good karma in putting the pieces together.
2. Sharing Knowledge: Joshua Baer, one of the busiest entrepreneurs in Austin, Texas, holds "open office hours" each week where newer entrepreneurs can sign up to come talk with him about their business ideas (Wow, he touches so many people with a small calendaring of time). Letting people have access to your knowledge of a topic can change their world.
3. Promoting Others: This is so easy, but done so rarely. Many are scared to talk about others as they fear it will take the attention off their own efforts. But everyone with a cause needs to get the spotlight brighter. When you know someone who is doing something cool, tell others about them. It can be verbal, on your blog, or through any number of social media channels. (See "Cool Things My Friends Do").
Stop asking "what is in it for me"... and just be generous. Not everything is a competition, so find joy in the success of others, and be part of what lead them to their victories.
Have A Great Day