Do you enjoy networking? I do!
I like to find out about what other people do and quite often at a networking event, I am able to introduce people to someone who might just be the right connection for them. You never know who might be able to provide just the right service either for you or someone you know. It’s a kind of “Pay it Forward” moment…..
Imagine then my surprise then, when over the weekend I attended a conference for Natural Therapists to learn more about marketing themselves. We were given a couple of exercises to do over the 2 days, both involving elevator speeches and /or defining our target markets.
I turned to the young, male chiropractor sitting next to me. Our task was to discover how each person got to the venue, was it hard or easy? What was our mode of transport and why had we chosen it? ….. and discover some of the values of the person we were talking with.
The chiropractor went first. He lived in the inner city, caught public transport because he didn’t believe in owning a car or contributing to pollution.
My turn. I drive a large 4 wheel drive…… which I use to travel to Central Australia, Cape York .. (where did this need to justify come from?). He asked me where I lived and I told him “Glen Waverley” ….and that was probably the last thing he heard. “Never heard of it” he said … & as looked at me, I could see his eyes flick immediately to the grey hair……..I was irrelevant.
Conversation stopped. Network failure……. awkward…..!!!
The second networking exercise was practice an elevator speech – 12 seconds to get the other person curious about what you do. This time I was paired up with a young, female naturopath.
She was to go first, so I asked what she did. ” I’m a Naturopath”…..silence…. so I prompted her…..
“What’s your area of speciality?”
“Oh, I’m a fertility…..” eyes flicked tot he grey hair and the conversation stopped.
I laughed and tugged at my hair, saying ” I realize that I may be a bit past the fertility stage, but I may have some people to refer to you!!”
With both therapists, I assume at some stage in their training they would have attended a lecture on having an open mind when it came to listening to clients as they gave their health histories. I know from my own training, whether it was hypnotherapy, coaching or homeopathy, that being an “unprejudiced observer” of the client history is the key to building rapport and gathering information. There is much truth in the old adage “Never judge a book by its cover”.
Yes, my hair is going grey and I wear it with pride…… an invisibility cloak at times…. it lets me slip under the radar! Just because my hair is going grey, it doesn’t mean that I am not going to be a good networking contact for you. Consider this, I may possibly have more people from my life experience and existing business, social or family contacts to refer to you.
Good networking is about having an open mind, open heart, being present and listening to what the other person has to say.