One of the most valuable life and leadership lessons my grandfather taught me on our fishing excursions was the importance of the preparation phase for any great task. He would wake me up early to find live bait in his backyard, check everything off on his list as he packed the truck, and then take one final look at the net to check for tears.
In networking, you are the net. If you prepare yourself well and learn how to do the W.O.R.K. in net-W.O.R.K.-ing, you will catch all of the fish–target clients and connections–that you desire!
When you’re creating business partnerships or net-W.O.R.K-ing, how do you do the W.O.R.K?
W – Write it down. My grandfather had a checklist of what to take fishing. As professionals who want to expand our sphere of influence, we need to have a checklist of whom and what we’re looking to market. Who is your ideal client and where would you find them? If you’re a dentist, do you really believe that anyone with teeth is your ideal client? Offensive, obnoxious and rude people have teeth. What do you want people to know about your business? What will you share with others when attending a networking event or when you’re out and about? For true clarity of vision, write down what you do and with whom you’re looking to make a connection.
O – Openness. “Openness, what the heck does that mean?” Be authentic. Share something personal. Over the past few months, I’ve shared some personal experiences about my life and my relationship with my grandfather. While being open makes me vulnerable, I bet for some of you, I have touched a special place where you can identify with my experiences in your own life. And that’s necessary to build relationships – and it’s good for business. Most people can tell whether you’re being genuine or trying too hard. (p.s. Please don’t share your life’s story and/or your biggest problems with perfect strangers.) But, as Grandpop always said, “If you don’t cast your line into open waters, you never know what you might catch!”
R – Remember, remember, remember, remember!
The four remember’s are lessons learned from watching my grandfather network, even when he was fishing.
1) Remember their name. Think about how good it feels when someone remembers your name. If you don’t have a good memory, practice. Use word association, ask them if they were named after someone special and/or repeat their name back. Find whatever works for you and do it.
2) Remember to listen. You’re looking to build a relationship with this person. Take this opportunity to find out as much as you can about them!
3) Remember not to take anything personal. I’ve had people say dismiss my business and my ideas. I look at those situations as an opportunity to further narrow who my ideal client is.
4) Remember to always be gracious and kind. My grandfather always told me to be a lady and spend time with gentlemen. He reminded me that not every man can be given the title “gentleman” and not every woman can be crowned “lady”.
K – Knock ’em out! Have you ever watched television a boxing match? What’s the most exciting part? The Knock-Out! After all of your preparation and involvement, it’s time to knock ’em out. What is it that you want them to remember most about you? Is it your attentiveness, your sense of humor, your intelligence or what you do? Webster’s dictionary defines the term “knock-out” as a person or thing overwhelmingly attractive, appealing or successful. If you’re prepared, open, use their name, listen and are always gracious and kind, you’ll knock ’em out every time.
As a leadership coach and consultant, I spend time helping my clients learn how to increase their network. After all, leadership is about influencing others, and if there isn’t anyone in your sphere of influence, chances are there isn’t anyone following what you’re doing. You get where I’m going, don’t you? No followers means you’re not really a leader. It’s not who you know; it’s who knows you. By using the net and doing the w.o.r.k., you’ll naturally increase your leadership ability and sphere of influence, and build relationships that are “reel”-y special.
As the President and C.hief E.nthusiasm O.fficer of Upside Thinking, Inc., Ms. Lisa Marie Platske brings passion and excitement to her work every day. Committed to transforming organizations, Ms. Platske teaches professionals how to develop a clear leadership vision, increase their sphere of influence and achieve long-term growth and steady profits. An energetic and inspirational trainer, leadership coach and certified True Colors facilitator, she has influenced the lives of entrepreneurs, small business owners and corporate executives with her call to commitment, challenging individuals to create a plan for excellence.