Your First Step: Start With Your Heart
Real connections come from true, heart-felt, and honest interactions. Shed your business persona and be yourself. If you have a line drawn between your personal and business connections, then erase that line. Start connecting with others as if each person might end up as your best friend. Itís a simple formula for connecting from your heart with other entrepreneurs: Be yourself, and youíll naturally attract like-minded, quality people. People you meet are more likely to introduce you to their friends and associates if they like you.
Honesty, curiosity, and vulnerability are keys to success. Intimate connections are the foundation upon which we build satisfied lives and the best connections are heart-centered connections. Donít think for a minute that success in business requires a stoic business persona. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Maintain an attitude of service
Great connections are the ultimate life and business builders and all great connections are based on a positive attitude of serving. Yes, itís true that we canít stay in business for long if we give everything away. But, thereís a fascinating paradox that Iíve discovered in my many years of networking and creating connections. The more I give, the more I get.
Approach each interaction with an eye toward providing service. Find out what your prospect needs, and if you canít provide the answers, then steer her towards someone you know. Youíre not giving your business away, but you are always thinking of ways you can be of service to others. A service-oriented attitude is perhaps the most magical networking tool available. Youíll be amazed at how swiftly and abundantly it comes back your way. Simply put - the more you give, the more you get.
Itís not who you know, itís who knows you
Those with the largest database of business cards donít necessarily win. Unless youíve honestly connected with the most influential people in your database, having their names will do you little good. Put your energy toward creating close connections with those who can have the most positive influence in your life and donít limit your search to business connections.
Think in terms of how you can help these people by connecting them with others you know, by providing a unique service, or simply by being a friend. Make yourself available and theyíll respond in kind when youíre in need. Ask yourself: Who are the most influential people in my industry? Who are the people with whom Iíd most like to associate with? Then, start developing strategies to meet these people. Itís most important to connect with those who are most like how you want to be. And donít for a moment believe that some people are out of your reach. Aim high and youíll reach high.
Connecting isnít a solo trip
Great networking isnít about out-maneuvering your competition. The best networkers think in terms of collaboration, not competition, even with their fiercest competitors. How might two or three of you band together to provide products or services to more high-end, high-paying customers? How can you enlist the help of people around the globe in your R&D efforts?
Connecting by its very nature is collaborative. Instead of collecting business cards and sending out brochures, seek out people with whom you might collaborate and build strong connections. You might meet someone with a brilliant idea whoís looking for a partner with your expertise. Or, you might form a mastermind group to brainstorm innovative ways to improve your business while holding each other accountable for implementing these new ideas. Best of all, youíll create new friendships that enrich your life.
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Article Added on Sunday, June 18, 2006
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