Networking is now more comfortable to me. It was not always so until I realized that it is just a way of maintaining good connections with people. Now I see many opportunities that unfold when you have your ears, eyes and mind open—just like a parachute—they all work better when open. Think of each person you meet as a future friend, client, prospect or someone who could be one of these over times.
Opportunities are Everywhere
Too often opportunities arrive disguised and you might neglect to take the action step. Instead of saying to yourself, “I wish, I will, I want, or I should—replace with “Do it now instead of tomorrow.” A double opportunity developed after speaking at a Chamber of Commerce meeting fifteen years ago. I received an email from a Global organization asking me to present at a meeting. When I asked who referred me, I reached out to the managing director of the firm, who I had not met from the Chamber of Commerce meeting and said thank you for the recommendation to your Global Association. The contact was stunned that I called to thank him since we had never actually met. This was many years later. We did finally meet when I presented and afterward, I wanted to take him to lunch to say thank you. We had a lovely lunch and he invited two colleagues. The “thank you” lunch turned out to be a sales opportunity and another project. Double tip on this opportunity. Always find out your first source of any referral and say thank you and then follow up again with either a coffee or lunch. You will never know what will develop unless you reach out.
I love when people reach out to me because it always proves to be some type of opportunity. A year ago, I received an email from a 16-year-old high school student, Nicole who reached out to me to learn how to network in high school to maximize her experience and start to prepare her for college. I was impressed, and we have stayed in touch on and off. Just last month Nicole reached out since her family moved to Texas and she now wanted to know how to get involved in psychology clubs—again to get her prepared for college. I asked Nicole how she had initially reached out to me. It turns out that her father was one of my drivers from a car service I use to go to the airport. We talked on that ride and he told me about his very bright and ambitious daughter. I told him to have her reach out and I would try to help- and she actually did. Reach out to people and follow up. You never know what will develop and how you may have an important impact on someone’s life.