I have been doing a lot of networking over the last few months, which has brought me into contact with many new people.
Strangers at first, I have felt a great deal of goodwill from these people, and many relationships are now developing into friendship.
It can be a lonely business working on your own, and these networking friendships provide support and encouragement from others who know how that can feel.
A couple of weeks ago I hosted a local networking meeting, and there was a great buzz in the room. We had a really balanced mix of people, from different backgrounds, and with a range of products, skills and services to tell others about.
Several people spoke to me after the meeting to let me know how much they had enjoyed themselves, others posted on the online forum and some took the time to call me or email me. It was that kind of meeting.
That is what I call goodwill. It might lead to friendship or it might lead to business.
Ideally, it will lead to both for many of the attendees.
But I’ve met a couple of people recently whose behaviour has surprised me. I’ve been startled by things that were said, and they way they were said, but not at all surprised at the result!
The result was that people were talking about these networkers. But for all the wrong reasons.
I wondered if the people involved were even aware of the negative impact they were having. I wondered what their objective for networking was, if they found it difficult to be nice to people.
Isn’t networking online and offline all about building relationships with people that may lead to friendship, and may lead to business?
Such a shame, and such a waste of an opportunity.
These uncomfortable encounters are thankfully rare, but they do happen. We are all different.
I sometimes have a tendency to first question what I could have done or said differently in a situation, but if I have been true to myself and my principles I put it down to experience and move on.
I only mention these occasional awkward moments because of how they make me think about the true spirit of networking.
It’s about being yourself of course. But as Mother used to say, ‘consider what you bring to others through what you say and do’.
With these thoughts still in my mind, my husband and I went off the next day for a week’s holiday in the sun. We arrived in St Kitts where the welcome was as warm as the sunshine. We were whisked off by speedboat to our resort on St Kitts’ little sister island, Nevis, where we were greeted with smiles and a welcome cocktail.
Our bodies not yet accustomed to the time difference, and our minds too alert for sleep, the next morning we decided to take a walk before the heat of the day.
And there along the roadside were these signs I am sharing today in my blog.
As life principles for a small Caribbean island they are charmingly profound.
For me, they are also signposts for the networking journey, and the route to business growth.
How we behave towards others determines the level of goodwill and friendship engendered.
How sad that some just can’t see that, then wonder why they are not getting new business, blaming the meeting format, or the people there, for their dissatisfaction.
The signs remind me that you get out what you put in.
Happy networking folks, feel the goodwill and enjoy the friendship!