I meet a lot of different people throughout my day. I try to attend every networking function that I can and connect with as many people as humanly possible. It is my belief that this approach is the key to becoming a success in your field. People need to know who you are and what makes you different from everyone else. I am also a firm believer in teamwork and supporting one another, especially my girlfriends! An incident that transpired the other day made me stop and really think about.
Two different people had given me the name of a woman they felt I should meet. She was eager to set a date to talk to me further. From the beginning of our conversation, things did not go in the direction that I anticipated. Normally, when I meet someone new, we spend the first half of our time together getting to know each other and enjoying one another’s company. I truly enjoy every minute of talking and learning more about an individual. From the beginning of the conversation, my meeting partner grilled me. When I tried to steer the conversation back to her as a person, she immediately wanted to talk business. Her style was abrupt and cold and I was a bit put off. Nevertheless, I persevered and asked her some questions.
She continued to grill me for the next 10 minutes. I rarely feel uncomfortable talking to others, but I immediately felt my “guard” go up. Although I continued to answer her questions, I felt strained and not myself while talking to her. The next statement she made really shocked me. She said, “I see how I can help you but I don’t see how you can do anything for me”. I always think on my feet and I replied in a calm confident tone, “You know, I always feel that we can help each other. For example, I know there are clients I could refer to you. It might seem like I can’t do much for you at this minute, but I am a big believer in working together and supporting each other to accomplish our goals.” Although what I said sounded good, I could sense that she just didn’t “buy it”.
The truth is that I don’t help or support people while measuring whether my investment in them will come back to me. I don’t network with people wondering only what they can do for me. I believe that every time I connect or network with someone, one more person knows who I am and what I am attempting to accomplish in the world. It is my opinion that as soon as we feel that networking and connecting with a person has to lead to some sort of immediate monetary or positive gain for us, we are doomed in our work and our life. People work with people they like, respect and trust.
The bottom line is this— maybe that woman is brilliant, but she knows very little about human nature. The world is all about relationships and as far as I am concerned, she flunked her test on people. Maybe this minute she couldn’t see how we could work as a team and help each other, but everything could change six months down the road. If I like you and see you are truly a good person, I will move mountains for you. Maybe I am just naive, but I have to believe what goes around, comes around. I think I will just continue to do things my way— it seems to have worked for me in the past!