We are taught from a very young age to embrace our differences. That we are unique and there is no-one else like us.
Each of us offers our own set of experiences. Although we can share certain experiences with others, it is the collective group of experiences that makes us unique – from the order and era we are born in, to our own journey of work, education, friendships, gains, losses and experiences.
Although we may be intelligent, resourceful and successful on our own, it does not necessarily mean we have all the answers or that the conclusions we make are the only conclusions possible to make.
As a consequence of the uniqueness of us as individuals, lays an opportunity to continue to exponentially add to our experiences and knowledge by engaging with others.
By engaging with other individuals we can tap into a wealth of many other unique set of experiences – challenging who we are, what we think and what are additional opportunities for learning and growth.
Make networking a priority – whether it is through friendships, associations, professional groups, or informal or formalized networking events. It can open you up to an extensive and infinite amount of new experiences, ideas, knowledge, skills and wisdom. And because each engagement with each person you meet is the sum of two unique individuals with two unique set of experiences, then the outcome and value it returns will be different and new with each single connection.
In the spirit of sharing my experiences, here are my top 10 tips for turning networking into growth:
- See each potential meeting with someone as an opportunity to learn something new
- Gain more from networking and all people engagements, by approaching with a learning objective – be clear about what you want to learn and consciously stay positive and open to new ideas, concepts, partnerships and approaches
- Put yourself out there – networking is about you sharing something about you and asking someone else something of value or interest about them. The best outcomes are when there is value being exchanged on both sides
- Have a quick pitch ready that explains who you are and how you help others, this can also open up new opportunities for you
- Find or create networks of people who interest you or are people you admire and feel there is something you can learn from – time is limited so maximize your use of every single event you have to be at, and prioritize others that you feel there would be value in
- Set a goal of meeting and learning one new thing from someone new each and every day. And continue to regularly meet with those where there is mutual gains in sharing ongoing experiences, successes and challenges
- Choose carefully what you will commit to in terms of follow up. Never commit yourself to someone or something if you have no intention of delivering or know it will be difficult to do
- Don’t wait to network. it is important to build a continuous and frequent networking engagement model. People often wait or see networking as a chore or difficult to do. However you never know when you need to call on a relationship or need to leverage new ideas, so keep these continuously warm and fresh.
- Seek not just opportunities and learnings about what to do, but also key learnings about what to avoid. As US Admiral Hyman G Rickover said “It is necessary for us to learn from others’ mistakes. You will not live long enough to make them all yourself.
- Be genuine and never pretend. This helps you find likeminded people and they you.
See Networking as a ticket to fast growth.
The more new people you can meet, the more opportunities for growth you are creating. It also makes for an exciting and easy way to stay energized so you can achieve all the things you want to do in your life.