Ok, so I started this networking thing about 4 months ago. At first I didn’t know if I fit in. I seemed to be making mistakes even if no one around me knew it. Of course, some did. They called me out on it and that’s how I knew I had screwed up. But that’s ok. I want to be told when I make a mistake, otherwise how can I correct it.
A very dear friend and mentor of mine told me a poem that his father wrote long ago. My friend is 74 so if his dad wrote this when he was a kid that is a long time ago. LOL Ok, here it is.
Be quick to kick if things seem wrong,
And kick to me and make it strong.
To make things right gives me delight,
If I am wrong and you are right.
Very cute to say the least, and very right to say the most.
So, anyway, I’m beginning to get this networking thing and really running with it. I notice that some groups are all about each other and some groups are all about themselves. Some are about working as a team and some are about working as individuals. I seem to be able to fit in and do whatever the group is dictating. Not to say I am a follower, by no means, I am a leader. So I size up the atmosphere and go with the flow. I have to say, I love the pay if forward attitude of networking and no matter how the group works this attitude always works. Just this morning I took 2 guests with me to an event. I felt as though I made about 6 different connections for other people. Didn’t really directly do anything for myself, but I know I made 1 really great friend today. She has a true giving spirit and I know we will have a great relationship. So I may have given more than I got today, but in the long run, I will gain so much more in return. That really good friend will tell people about me and they will tell someone else and soon it will snowball.
Then tonight I went to another networking event sponsored by the local Chamber of Commerce. Large group, many diverse people. At these meetings I always run into CPA’s, Ins. people, financial people. I T people (you guys are everywhere), marketing people, and of course the promoters and people in transition. (Why don’t they just say they’re unemployed and need a job?) LOL However, I have yet to run into anyone that does what I do.” I’m a Certified Pedorthist and I can help you put your best foot forward”, is what I say when I meet someone for the first time. The eyes light up and the interest sparks. I let them know about my product the ezWalker custom arch supports and how it will work in any type of footwear you want to wear. The comment I usually get is “Really? Any shoes?” Yes any shoes. Before I’m done with my 2 min schpeal, I have been ask for cards by at least 2/3rds of the people standing there. Never at any networking meeting, have I run into anyone that does what I do. I basically have no competition. This is great! As a matter of fact, most of these people don’t even know this type of service exists. I have to educate them about my profession and what I do, and why the ezWalker is the best little custom orthotic on the web. For more info go to www.walkezstore.com.
So for a little bit of gas and time, I’m a networker and lovin every minute of it. I think there’s a song in there somewhere. LOL
So if you are networking and don’t think it’s really working for you, maybe you should take a step back and evaluate just exactly how you are networking. No matter how the group operates, the pay if forward attitude always works. My foot is in the door after the first, “Hi and what to you do? How can I help you? Who do you want to meet?” After that they ask me what I do and I’m off.
So next time you go to a meeting of any kind, try thinking about how you can help the person sitting next to you. Paying if forward always pays in return. Happy networking!