In the business world, you succeed through networking, since the most important information flows through people. Having hung around almost exclusively in offices with other business-minded people from all walks of life for more than two decades, I have found myself in a position where I didn’t have to begin my business networking completely from scratch.
But don’t be deceived. For all intents and purposes I have had to start again, learning an entirely new language and set of rules. There is no room for quiet reserve, polite phrasings and a contemplative stance because, in the business world, this could indicate signs of indecision and lack of interest. The norms in the business world are gregariousness, assertiveness, being talkative and engaging!
Of course, you can never tell when a good referral is going to happen. It’s a case of ‘what goes around, comes around’, or ‘pay it forward’. If you help others, they will help you. It could be as simple as referring a name to someone, but the result of that referral could be life changing, like could be life changing, like finding a fabulous new job or making a romantic connection. Wherever you are, if there are people around, you should be building your network at every opportunity and work on adding interesting people to your 'list'. It might be months or years before you receive any help, but when it happens it will be worth it. Be careeful about asking for significant help straight away. People don't respond well to aggression and the feeling that the only reason you are interested in them is to get something from them.
Keep it light, keep it friendly and who knows where it might lead you.
Marion Jackson is an accomplished Executive Assistant who has identified a gap in the local New Zealand market for providing affordable websites and business support.