I just experienced a wonderful reminder of the power of relationship building! I recently joined a local business association in order to meet new people and expand my business in the community. In an effort to learn more about some of the other members, I have been scheduling one-on-one informational meetings. This morning I met with someone that I was not sure would be relevant to my business, but I instantly liked him and decided to learn more about him. Within minutes, he had arranged for me to present to a group of young professionals next week!
Had I not attended this meeting, this opportunity would never have presented itself. I had no connection to the organization at which I will be speaking, and I don’t know anyone else who would’ve facilitated an introduction. It was sheer serendipity. Or was it?
I speak often about the importance of networking because it works. People who make the effort to get to know other people have greater opportunities and experience greater results. When I say networking, I don’t mean a handshake and business card exchange at a meeting. True networking involves building mutually rewarding relationships.
Because of his willingness to help me, I took a greater interest in him and his business. I asked him questions about how I could help him in the future. And I will make a concerted effort to do so.
This experience also reminded me not to be too quick to judge another person’s ability to help. We have no idea what experience other people have, or who is in their networks until we get to know them. Keep an open mind as you meet new people. Even if you can’t help each other immediately, you never know when an opportunity may arise!