Years ago, when my friend Liz Lynch published her book Smart Networking, I took her out to lunch to celebrate. She then wrote this amusing description of the scene that transpired Why An Enthusiastic Friend Can Be One of Your Most Powerful Networking Assets I have bought and recommended her book many times for my clients, friends and associates seeking effective ways to enhance their networking confidence and results.
Since then, Liz has become known globally for her affirming approach. She was even the international ambassador for National Networking week in Australia, where she did a 9-city tour giving 13 talks in 6 days. Yes indeed, I’m proud and impressed!
So when I heard she’d be speaking to a “Princeton Over 40” event in Manhattan, my first reaction was “Oh boy, I’m being targeted by age group, and no longer on the younger side.” My second reaction was, “Well, I don’t want to lose my status as an enthusiastic friend – I’m going!” Taking a tip from Liz, I invited my classmate Adam Weiss, a recruiter for law firm partners, to come along.
Following up on my last blog entry, I had no programmed business agenda and said to Adam before walking in, “Let’s just have some fun and enjoy meeting new alumni.”
Interestingly, in her talk Liz echoed the same sentiments on a more sophisticated level explaining:
- Establish the bond first, and the business will follow.
- Concentrate on them. Don’t ask for anything on the spot.
- Find ways to promote and add value for others.
Well, after her talk, it was absolutely amazing what occurred in the room. There was an incredible camaraderie and exchange of ideas. Everyone was supercharged and super friendly. Whether we were all so glad to have been released from self-promotional aims, or the natural affinity amongst us was simply enhanced by Liz’s recommendations it’s hard to say.
But what I know for sure is that within two days. I had connected with every single person I had spoken with during the evening. When does that happen? Unprecedented! A real estate executive and a neuroscientist both purchased my ebook. An attorney reached out to say “Hey, we didn’t get a chance to talk at the event, so why don’t we get together soon?” And, Adam was invited to speak to a select group of law firm partners about his book, The Lateral Lawyer.
When I mentioned this a few days later to Mark Newman, who I met that evening, he commented, “Yes, well… there is something self-referential about networking at a networking workshop.” (Mark has a Ph.D. in applied mathematics and leads a data analytics firm that identifies patterns and potential for everyone from major sports leagues to one of the largest global consumer finance companies.) That comment alone was worth attending the event! Every time I repeat it, the other person laughs just as I did. As you know, there’s nothing like a shared smile to fortify new relationships.
It was like being back at college in all the best ways – meeting people from different fields willing to share and explain. We had fun and we followed up. I don’t know about you, but in my view – that’s very smart networking!