Coffee Lunch Coffee: Network, Influence, and Lead!

Susan S Freeman Blog

Holiday networkingWhy a post about networking during December, the busiest time of year?  Because December is a great time to ask people to meet you for holiday “cheer” to toast the season.  Often people you have long wanted to meet or with whom you have lost touch will be thrilled to hear from you this time of year.

Coffee Lunch CoffeeI just read a new book by my friend Alana Muller entitled “Coffee Lunch Coffee.”  It is a practical, accessible field guide to the all-important art of relationship building.

Alana is President of Kauffman FastTrac, a global provider of training to aspiring and existing entrepreneurs – giving them the tools, resources and networks to start and grow successful businesses.  We have many of the same cares and concerns about empowering entrepreneurs.

The book tackles a subject that many people consider the “necessary evil”: networking. Through the lens of her personal experience in a career transition, Alana learned to leverage and love the power of conversing with others to deepen and extend her knowledge and impact.

Here are some of the takeaways I learned from the book:

  • NetworkingGreat networking is intentional;  always have an idea of what your purpose is

  • Plan it out;  have a regular routine to schedule appointments weekly to build traction

  • Share before getting;  offer something such as a recommendation, or introduction; can be a non-business suggestion

  • Ask powerful questions; elicit  interest from others by engaging in what matters to them before you launch into speaking about yourself

  • Quality vs. quantity; focus on one or two good conversations that you can build on instead of collecting a stack of cards without real connection

  • Be memorable;  Help people by telling a story

  • Openness; of heart and mind; you never know who you will meet and what can happen as a result

Ask yourself a few questions as you enter this final month of 2012.

  • Have I nurtured my business relationship effectively?

  • What have I given to others to help them?

  • What have I received that has benefited my business?

  • What do I most need to prepare for 2013 successfully?

  • Who could help me and how could I help them?

I think we have all experienced the power of positive networking in business.  By simply being open, curious, and interested in serving others, amazing things show up in our lives.

Remember to reach out and reconnect this month.  Watch the good stuff show up!

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