There is a clear career and business case for an ever-expanding networking—most positions are filled, most sales contacts are found, through networks of relationship. But there may be something else in play, and it has to do with the concept of neighbors.
Being a Good Neighbor as Part of your Success Metric.
Jesus summed up the human axis of relational expectation in one powerful idea: love your neighbor. A neighbor is anyone who is near. Being a neighbor is meeting our neighbor’s needs with the resources we have. Networking is not solely about our needs. Networking plunges us into a new web of possibles where we may find ourselves meeting new neighbors to meet their needs.
Networking Overview: We begin with a quick review of the ground we’ve covered in this series of posts:
The Strategic Networking pattern is Intention, Focus, Action, Celebration
“Action” will be further explained in this post (as it was in the last).
Action in involves four steps: 1) Prep, 2) Initial Contact, 3)Face-to-Face, 4) Follow-up
Being a Good Neighbor as a Deliverable of Strategic Networking
Steps 3 and 4 of the networking process get down to the nitty gritty of having networking meetings with people and making asks relative to your intention and focus. While these are the phases where we go directly after the “gain” we seek from the networking process, these are also the stages where we have the most to give to our new connections.
Step 3: Face to Face: This is a on-on-one meeting where you ask for 20-60 minutes of a person’s time. Think about how “love your neighbor” applies to the following…
- Meet at a time and place that’s convenient for them
- Pray to be a blessing
- Be prepared with some thoughtful questions (so you don’t waste their time)
- Be prepared with an ask (Always include “who else should I talk to”)
- Pay the bill
- Ask if you can serve them in any way.
Step 4: Follow-up: This is what happens after the initial meeting to grow the relationship and keep things going.
- Follow-up with a LinkedIn connection request
- Follow-up with an email of thanks immediately
- Report back when you have followed up on asks they have asked of you.
- Report back when you’ve followed through on suggestions they have made. (Closing the loop and checking in, checks the transactional temptation to use and move on.)
- Remember their key themes and interests (Make this a human interactions not just a deal)
- Check back in from time-to time following up on their interests/needs and providing updates on your progress
Worth the Risk
Embracing “love your neighbor” as part of your success metric for networking is a risk. We add a new set of answers to the “what are we trying to accomplish” question. It takes time to invest in others. People may take advantage of our willingness to help. And we may find ourselves in over our heads with the needs of specific connections. On the other hand, looking for ways to serve those we meet during the networking process forces us out of transactional selfishness. It reminds us that we too are needy. And ultimately it drives us to the perfect neighbor, who came from his world to ours, risked and gave everything to meet our need, though we had nothing to give him in return.
About the Author: Dr. Chip Roper writes Marketplace Faith from New York City, where he is the director of Marketplace Engagement at the New York City Leadership Center. Chip aims to end what he calls the “stunning silence of the church regarding life at work.” He is convinced that a central piece of God’s plan for any city or community is the work that people do each day. You can learn more about him here. Chip is available for speaking, consulting, and coaching engagements. Inquire via his email: email@example.com.
Pic: spider Web: https://pixabay.com/p-959578/?no_redirect