The girls and boys were nervously seated around the outskirts of the room eyeing each other off. It reminded me of the very last old-time dance I ever went to at our local community hall in 1978.
Only this was a networking event and it’s now 2013.
I was hosting The Art of Connecting, a Better Business Club event at The Hub in Melbourne.
After a quick discussion on the do’s and don’ts of networking, there was unanimous agreement that networking should forever more be referred to as connecting.
For many, networking, conjures up images of boring overly rehearsed elevator pitches, random business card collecting (and distributing), shallow conversations about your business or job (or worse still, the weather and politics) and annoying newsletter spamming the next day.
Connecting on the other hand is seen as a quality, not quantity, exercise. It’s about ditching the elevator pitch for a purpose conversation, leaving the business cards at home and asking what can I do for you instead of what can I get from you?
Connecting is about getting to know, like and trust someone by asking meaningful questions and actually listening to the answers. It’s about sharing your story thereby giving the other person the courage to share theirs. It’s about following up your conversation with some valuable information or a trusted connection to others. In short, it’s about making friends.
Thirty minutes later, after we’d reinvented this whole networking game, it was time for some practice. Over some wine and cheese the dance began. In pairs we connected over meaningful questions. What advice would you give your 18 year-old self? What are the five things you can’t live without? If you were stranded on a desert island and could only take one book, what would it be?
One hour later, these simple thought-provoking questions had shifted people from being nervous networkers to courageous connectors. The room was abuzz and the conversations were deep. And when it was over, there was a commitment from all to join the movement and become life-long conscientious connectors. What one thing will you do today to stop networking and start connecting?
Yours in conscious marketing
PS Here’s four ways you can get connected with me:
- Join me at our next Conscious Capitalism event Wed 16 October Click here
- Join me at my Reinvent your Business webinar Thurs 17 October Click here
- Join me at the next Better Business Club event Tues 22 October Click here
- Contact me about the Reinvent your Business program Click here