‘Help Me Help You’
Ever had a conversation that left you thinking differently about something you assumed was true?
A colleague and I were speaking recently about Movie Quotes which progressed eventually to Jerry Maguire, then Sports Agents and eventually the conversation moved toward networking. I asked him to sum networking up in one word and he said ‘parasite’. He asked me and I said ‘service’.
Like every robust debate, there were varying perspectives on the concept. My colleague considered networking as people in windowless rooms handing people contact details and business cards for the express purpose of getting some kind of financial gain and was surprised when I disagreed.
I told my colleague I see networking as the opportunity to meet interesting people, establish authentic connections, and grow together. I believe networking gives us the opportunity to help other people grow. The positive ripple effects of networking are numerous and positive, but I did not see them as the primary reason for networking.
I heard it said once that there are should be no receipts or unspoken IOU’s hidden away in the verbal contracts of our everyday actions. Sometimes we should just do something because it is nice to do nice things for others. Be authentic. This echoed well with me through many years as a reminder that there are other perspectives to the timely adage ‘when something is too good to be true, it usually is’ and that we are not alone in wanting to help others.
There is strength in passionately doing what you believe, even if it goes against the grain.
My colleague argued that his inner cynic is always scanning for the hidden agenda, and disputed the idea there are people who have the ability and agency to do good things for others with no expectation of reciprocity. I agreed that he had merit in saying that we should not blindly accept every good deed as its own situation, and to walk the path of trust and caution – accepting that some people still connect with each other without the problem of hidden agendas.
We parted ways with a mutual insight and a stronger connection. He left with an open mind to possibly entertaining the idea that networking as a concept is not a problem, but a solution, and his doubts were based on the different purposes people undertake networking.
I left with an open mind to entertaining the idea that I need to show more people the importance of authentic networking that doesn’t carry an agenda of ‘show me the money’
This week I am
- Connecting with people in my L & D network to redefine their business strategies
- Connecting with businesses to design induction pathways and facilitate workshops for new employees
- Connecting former banking colleagues and future executive coaches from a career management company workshop to finalise career development
- Connecting colleagues in the legal industry with other network contacts for family-friendly employment and work experience opportunities
- Connecting other colleagues with banking contacts for life solutions on loans, life insurance, and investment planning
- Connecting somebody in pharmaceuticals with somebody from the aviation industry to explore a career change.
- Connecting with professionals from IT and Hospitality industries for coaching around recruitment and selection techniques.
I’d like to see how many more people I can connect with to ‘help me help them’ in the next week, the next month, the next year.
Closing Query: Share your thoughts (and solutions) on this question:
What mental barriers or belief systems prevent us from being able to connect with other people if we all possess the potential ability to do so?