Real Life Networking: Reflection on Connection
True confession: the only way I can get myself to do this ‘networking’ thing is to approach it naturally, with a genuine desire to connect and build relationships. I’ve written about this in several blog posts – have a look!
Thank goodness, there are others out there with the same intentions!
This time, the example stories are about ME!
It’s 2006(ish). As I mentioned last week, I’ve never been big on networking events (which might seem strange given what I do, but, also, maybe you can relate!) So I drag myself to a business networking/entrepreneurs event because it’s in a yoga studio, and that sounds way less uncomfortable and insincere than your average biz boozie at a bar or conference center, just a handshake/card exchange & NEXT type thing (that I can’t stand!)
I meet Karen, and she’s easy going, warm, and, I’m soon to find out, a real “connecter”…. She refers me to a contact of hers, Fran, that works at a local candidate placement agency. Fran & I meet, & she refers me to Matt, who hires me as a contract resume writer for C-level/leadership clients, which was a great gig for awhile, where I was paid well and I learned a lot that was important to my development as a writer in both skills, techniques, and confidence at the time.
It’s March 2015 (yes, almost a DECADE later). I send out my regular newsletter, Support = Success! Short Time to Spring Into Action. I receive a lovely note from Fran, complimenting my newsletters, and, in a few short emails, it ends up that she refers me to another opportunity with an international worker relocation & job search support company, who I worked for another 2 years until the role completely changed away from my interests. And, I am able to share some helpful resources with her from my business group.
Oh, and by the way, Karen & I? From that first 2006 group? We became friends! I’ve helped her move, we traveled together, I help her land an exciting gig, and she also became a client!
Me & Karen, Nov 2011, traveling to Wilmington, NC
It’s 2010. I sign up (Gulp! Scared to death I won’t have the stomach for it, that I may regret my financial investment) for my first big business coaching group and class online with Christine Kane, a successful touring indie musician turned even more successful business coach known for her “strategy AND soul” approach.
I meet Katy in the group. She ends up being my web host/WordPress coach, friend, client, and awesome client referral source My lack of tech knowledge provides her with a smorgasbord of blog post topics! I help her hubbie with his resume.
It’s 2015. I receive an amazing consult session on a personal matter from Katy. She’s a willing reference for me (including the new biz opportunity I was recommended for by Fran!) I’m also supporting Katy in developing her new business angle.
I attend a big group coaching session/event with Christine Kane in Asheville, NC & meet another 2010 group participant in person, finally, which is just a joy, and I refer my new contacts to her regularly. All my Christine Kane circle of connections have become amazing professional, and some personal, support systems and referral sources.
Me at the “Uplevel You ‘CLICK!'” event with Christine Kane
What do these stories have in common?
Can you see it?
I got brave, and put myself out there to meet people, join groups, find support, make connections … IN A WAY THAT WORKED FOR *ME* (even though it was a bit of a stretch to give them a try) ….
….and look at the opportunities, relationships, and extended contacts that then led to more of the same that sprouted effortlessly from just these two examples, these two instances where I “I took a chance, I did something uncomfortable for me” – isn’t it sort of amazing how that all works??
I’m not schmoozy … and neither are they. We aren’t just trying to figure out what we can get, the benefit from the relationship for ourselves. We really connect, over time.
We show up in a genuine way & get to know each other, and from those real relationships, comes the trust, respect, and the happy give & receive nature of these connections.
It’s a beautiful thing.
What are YOUR connection stories?
How has taking chances, and trying new things to grow your network, and nurturing your existing relationships been mutually beneficial to you & your contacts?
Email me & share your stories with us!