Thursday, August 31, 2006

Making an Impact

"There is no such thing as a self made person. You will reach your goals only with the help of others." George Shinn

This is one of many thought-provoking quotations in Nigel Risner's excellent new book 'The Impact Code'. I have just finished reading the book. However, I know that the last statement cannot be correct. If I have finished reading the book I will not get any value from it.

Some books are great entertainment. Some books get you thinking. Some books make a real impact on your life. Despite its entertainment value and thought-provoking, Nigel's book has the potential to be one of the latter for me, as long as I don't put it back onto the shelf and instead apply some of the lessons learnt!

Packed with challenges, ideas and questions this really is a worthwhile investment if you want to move your life onto the next level. I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Bizarre Business Card Exchanges

I received this email, and challenge, from BRE member Jane Barnett of Essential Therapies in Cleveland recently.

Just as I came off the A1M to head back to Teesside…a lorry had to slow down in front of me, put on its hazard lights, and manoeuvre around a car that had its boot ABLAZE!!!

After managing to get past it myself, I remembered that I usually carry a fire extinguisher in my car!

So after a couple of seconds of wondering if I should turn around & offer help or not…then deciding YES, ‘cos I’d want someone to help me out if God forbid I was in that situation…

…I pulled up behind the car and handed the extinguisher to a very thankful business man!

Now I won’t go too into detail, but it was his products that were flammable and they’d not only set themselves alight, but also his sales brochures, most of his boot lining…and his overnight bag as well! (Passing lorries etc were only worsening the situation by fanning the flames!).

(Apart from the fact his car could of very nearly blown up, along with him…it wasn’t doing much for the grass verge & near by bushes either)!!! Not to mention the hazard that the smoke was causing to the passing vehicles!

So once he’d called to alert the fire brigade for them to come & give the situation the all clear…I said my goodbyes & intended to be on my way!

As I was leaving…he asked for my business card!!! So he could replace the extinguisher!

I couldn’t help but smile as I told him I was just on my way home from my morning networking meeting…and ‘we’re always encouraged to use every opportunity to network…but this was unbelievable’..he smiled as well as he agreed you just couldn’t make this one up!!!

So what did I learn from this? Always carry your business cards with you, ‘cos you never know when someone is going to ask for one…Always lend a hand to someone in need…it may just be you needing help next time…

And what did I get for my assistance that I was only too happy to give anyway???

A BEAUTIFUL bouquet of flowers delivered to me this afternoon as a thank you! It’s made my day…just by helping someone else!

SO…I am laying down the gauntlet…and inviting anyone else to try and beat that bizarre business card exchange…Nice bottle of wine to the winner!!!

Happy Networking


So, the gauntlet has been laid down. Where have you exchanged your business cards? All good clean contributions will be published here.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Find out my nasty secret!

It can be funny hearing yourself interviewed!

I was recently interviewed by Mike Southon, of Beermat Entrepreneur fame, for a podcast for his excellent website

I must admit, Mike tricked me into revealing all of my hidden secrets, particularly the dark world of my previous employ! The only less popular job than some on my CV is probably estate agent (with apologies if you belong to that noble profession).

If you would like to hear more, you can download a free short version of my interview about business networking and referral groups here. A full version is available through the Beermat website.

A Matter of Trust

"How can you possibly trust someone you've only just met?"

An interesting question that I have been asked on more than one occasion by people new to networking events.

The answer lies not in a naive openess to all that many would shy away from, but in understanding degrees of trust and the suspension of distrust.

I believe that to say that 'I do not trust you' is not necessarily a negative thing. Trust is a positive feeling that has to be built based on evidence or strong emotion. When you first meet someone, unless they have a very special quality, it can be very difficult to 'trust' them.

However, at the same time you would have no reason to 'distrust' that person. Just as you need either strong evidence or emotion to trust people, so distrust is developed in the same way.

When you first meet people at a networking event, in truth you neither trust nor mistrust them. You don't even know them!

We often talk about the importance of giving to others if we are to receive. How can you do this without positive 'trust'?

Put quite simply, if you are in a position to help others, it is still possible to do so without putting your reputation at stake. You would merely be more guarded in doing so and your 'referral' would be more qualified. There is a difference between introducing someone you trust:

"You really must talk to Bill, I think he'll be able to solve the problem in your business"

or someone you have just met but can connect:

"I met Bill the other evening. He seems to have a solution that may help".

The second introduction is much more qualified that the first. Once your new acquaintance has proved themselves to you, you can start to build genuine trust in them and levels of trust, and the nature of your relationship, will change.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Welcome to my blog!

Having heard Graham Jones speaking at the London Professional Speakers Association (PSA) meeting a couple of weeks ago, I have finally sat down to write my own blog.

It is amazing how quickly technology is changing the way we interact and communicate with each other. I heard a couple of days ago about how we are in the middle of the second technology boom. A few short years since the dot com craze, the online networks such as Ecademy and Linked In, together with blogging sites such as this one seem to be taking a more and more prominent role both in general human interaction, and in marketing.

Like anything else, if you are to embrace this development, it is so important to understand what it can do for you and how to make the most of the opportunities offered. I look forward to sharing my thoughts on networking strategy and skills through this blog and hopefully to learn from you as well. Please do comment on my blogs so that we can help each other.

Through these blogs I aim to look at new ways to generate referrals for your business, discuss new ideas about how networking can help business development and also share stories of personal development through networking.

Ultimately, I want to look at how people connect and interact with each other and how we can share our resources to enhance each other's potential.