August 10th, 2010 Archive

Mind Your Skills

August 10th, 2010 by Ric in Lifestyle

Source: GettyImages.com

Despite how some people make it look, networking isn’t easy.  Trust me on this, I know.  Networking takes time, hard work, and a lot of patience – and I’ve put in my fair share of that. Of course, to be at successful at networking, like in most other things, you need a couple of things: the right skillsets, and the right mindsets.  

Some of you may be wondering what the difference is between the two.  Let me break it down for you by putting you in the shoes of a carpenter or handyman.  

Think of your skillset as the tools you have on your belt, and of course, the know-how and experience to use these tools. These things not only make your job easier, but are vital for your job.  

In networking your tools or your skills involve effectively communicating your ideas to others, being able to focus on specific tasks, and knowing how to bond with potential business partners, just to name a few.  

Having the right skillset, however, is only part of the formula.  You may know how to nail, screw, and glue pieces of wood together, but if you don’t know what you’re building or what steps you have to take, all you’ll end up with is a pile of wood.  This is where the mindset comes in.  

Ivan Misner says it best in his article in one of our online magazines, Healthy Wealthy n Wise, entitled Networking is Both a Mindset and a Skillset. He explains that  too many business and life coaching professionals, focus too much on the skillset, and neglect a way of thinking that you need for successful and dynamic networking, or what he calls the mindset.  Of course, he also gave us specific examples to help us better determine what our own skillsets and mindsets are.

Focus your mind

I’m a firm believer in the power of the mind. If you can dream it, you can achieve it. Whatever you believe in and envision, you can become. These are some of the values I try to instill in my sons Chandler and Stefan. I want them to grow up knowing that they can take control of their own lives, and it starts with their minds.

Here are the three mindsets that Ivan Misner shared in his article: 

The Law of Reciprocity or Givers Gain Approach

The Golden Rule; “you reap what you sow;” “what goes around comes around;” “you only get what you give;” “give and you shall receive” – the idea has been stated many times over in countless ways, and for good reason.  No matter which form, language, or combination of words it takes, the Law of Reciprocity is a universal law. 

This is a great to law to apply to networking – if you treat your network well, they will likely treat you well too.  However, Ivan stresses that this law is not transactional.  Statements like “you scratch my back, I scratch yours;” and “tit for tat” are not what the Law of Reciprocity is about.  Sure, a quid pro quo approach can bring some success, but nothing like what the power of reciprocity can yield.  

You shouldn’t just do business with those who you think would give you the most profit or the best benefits.  Instead, you should focus on your ability to work with and help others – somehow the universe will make it worth your while.  Trust me, if your heart is in the right place, fate will pay you back tenfold.  It’s a cliché, I know, but no good deed goes unpunished indeed.

Diversity in networking

Diversity allows you to explore other worlds other than your own. It lets you get out of your own head and pick other people’s brains for a change. Not only will you increase your knowledge and broaden your perspective, you will also widen your network.

If you’ve been around the business long enough like Liz and I have, then you’ll know that diversity isn’t just good for networking and business, it’s also prime ground for personal growth. 

Farming Mentality

Among the many things farmers are known for and are good at are patience and cultivation. They till the soil before planting seeds, nurture and protect their crops, and gather the harvest only when the time is right.  They don’t expect to reap the benefits of their hard work overnight. 

Success in networking is similar – you don’t go in for the kill in the first meeting.  You prepare the soil first by bonding with potential clients, referrers, and partners.  Only after this do you plant the first seeds and discuss referrals and networking opportunities.  Also like a farmer tending to his seeds, you need to make sure that you strengthen your relationships with those you want in your network.  

Do this, and you’ll eventually reap the benefits.  Like farming, networking success  doesn’t happen overnight.  You don’t get rich by being impatient and riding get-rich-quick schemes. Remember, there’s no money-back guarantee in those fly-by-night businesses. 

Enhance your skills

Your mindset complements your skillset.  Your mindset gives you a plan or a networking stragety, but your skillset gives you the tools to execute that plan.  These three skillsets Ivan  mentions in his article can really help you start up and build a strong networking business.   

The VCP Process(TM)

Ivan Misner coined this skillset which stands for visibility, credibility and profitability.  Visibility breeds credibility and credibility, more often than not, leads to profitability.  You have to start with making yourself more visible to the business community you belong to.  This could come in many forms, including attending mixers, writing for the newspaper, supporting neighborhood sports, and holding fundraisers, among other things. 

As people see how stable and dependable you are, you gain credibility in their eyes.  This credibility leads to referrals, stronger relationships, and eventually, more profit.  Don’t be afraid to try something new, and be creative in getting yourself and your business out there.

Sharpshoot, Don’t Shotgun

Information overload can hurt your business really bad.  When you introduce yourself and your business, don’t try to cram everything into a 30-second, 3,000 word-per-minute spiel.  Instead, focus on the key aspects of your business – the more details, support materials, and stories you can build around each aspect, the more others will learn and remember.  My wife Liz often complains about retention, but in this case, retention is a very good thing.  When people remember and trust you, they will come back to you repeatedly.

Hold One-on-Ones

How did you meet your spouse, partner, or significant other?  Chances are, you met in a party, mixer, or some other group setting.  

How did you get to know each other?  I bet you spent quite a bit of time with each other, away from others in your social circles.  

The fact is that you can learn things about other people in one-on-one interactions that you’re unlikely to discover in a group setting.  This applies not only to personal relationships, but networking and business as well.  

One-on-one interactions give you a deeper knowledge and understanding of each other’s strengths, weaknesses, and capabilities.  They also help you  establish closer and stronger bonds with your partners, which usually translate to an increase in referrals too. 

There are many ways to start and build a networking business. Whatever skills you have can always be enhanced by your mindset and vice versa.  What mindsets and skillsets have you used in your business?  Do you know of others that you’d like to share with us?  Let us know through the comments section below.

Happy networking!
Ric