I was in a meeting last week and the person I was meeting came out with a great expression – “nobody ever tripped over anything sitting behind a desk!”
The context for this comment was a discussion about meeting people (I am trying hard to avoid the term networking – let’s call it connecting instead).
Having been in business for over 20 years I would state categorically that connecting is an essential function for any business, but perhaps even more so for the owner of a Small to Medium sized Enterprise (SME). It is worth noting that I am not referring to on-line social networks but the real McCoy – face to face.
Connecting to your local business community acts as the ultimate enabler; connecting enables you to:
– Position you and your product or service
– Identify potential clients and suppliers
– Hone your business interpersonal skills
– Enhance your professional development and knowledge
– Build your confidence
The list is almost endless, and the process of connecting should only end when you finish being involved in business; having said that, there is one fundamental problem – whilst most business people that I talk to accept that connecting is important most business people say that they don’t like it or don’t have the required skills or even worse, say that they don’t have the time!
I believe that the problem lies in the fact that people think connecting (or networking) is about selling and if that person does not believe that they are a “natural” sales person then connecting is not for them. They could not be any further from the truth; granted there will always be people at events pushing products and services, however I see connecting as a process of establishing contacts with likeminded people, with similar values where an equitable exchange can occur – not necessarily today; or even next year. At some time now or in the future an exchange of ideas; knowledge; contacts or services will occur; but only after you are seen as someone than can be trusted – the basis for any worthwhile relationship.
Okay, at this point I will be losing the sceptics who feel that there is a lack of a clear objective or it seems too lose – hence the title – serendipity. Stay with this; some of the best deals on the planet have occurred via introductions made during social or business based events – in other words connecting!
If you want to know more about this essential skill – feel free to ping me an email; I am always happy to connect. Just put serendipity on the subject box to email@example.com