A few months ago I was working with a client, Anthony. We were due to have one of our monthly mentoring meetings but there had been a mistake in our diaries — Anthony was in the city waiting for a face-to-face meeting while I was sitting in my office in the Northern Beaches of Sydney waiting for a virtual hangout. Yikes!
Only the previous week I had introduced Anthony to one of my 12 key people, my Cheerleader Kieran. As our mentoring session was about to kick off, he bumped into Kieran.
‘Hi Kieran,’ said Anthony. ‘I’m on my way to meet Janine.
‘Great,’ said Kieran. ‘I’ll come up and surprise her.’
At this point, I called Anthony and we discovered the mistake.
But then the magic happened.
‘Why don’t I stay and do the mentoring session?' offered Kieran. ‘I’ve got an hour to spare.’
Win–win. Anthony ended up having us both in on the conversation —one face to face and one on the phone. As Anthony put it, ‘I don’t think I know anyone who would step in like that for me.’
Who in your network would step in for you?
This is a great example of the power of connection. You know when you’ve got it down pat: when you’ve cultivated the right relationships, this mutual value exchange happens organically and naturally.
Cultivating your relationships takes you to the tipping point between networking that is mildly effective and networking that works exponentially. When you network with conviction, sure of who you are and what you know, willingly sharing information and insights that matter to others;
- Opportunities are created.
- Value is exchanged.
- Influence is increased.
- Connections become transformational.
So when it comes to cultivating your connections, the question to ask yourself is who are you really and what are you really giving?
Are you bringing your full self to the conversation or hiding parts of yourself?
Are you entering into a conversation with a genuine interest in who you are meeting and what you can do for them?
What are you offering in exchange?
Nurture your network and seek out opportunities to add value all the time.
- Actively promote others
- Engaging and make connections within and across networks
- Drive support and sales opportunities for others
- Do not expect anything in return
- Constantly and consistently add value to the relationship
Only when we network in the right way by choosing, connecting and cultivating our relationships are we able to build networks that work – networks that mutually grow us as well as those we are connected with. Win : win - it's as simple as that!
So why not get to work and think about who you would step in for and who would step in for you?