Networking lessons from my daughter: never fear and know what you want
Greg Peters | Contributor
My daughter Kaylie is one of the best networkers I've ever seen. I suspect that a lot of kids are. I think if we adults paid a little more attention to them and did our best to emulate them, we would have a lot less trouble with our networking practice.
So, just in case you don't have a 3-year-old around your house, here are just one or two of the lessons I've learned from watching her.
Never fear the other kids. No matter where we are, if she sees other children at a distance, she shouts out "Hi, kids!" and rushes over to play. Often her first words to them will be "My name's Kaylie. What's your name?" Within minutes she's running around with them as if she's known them for years. Wouldn't networking events be a lot easier if we tried that same fearless approach?
Know what you want. The other day, we were at Raja Rani, our favorite Indian restaurant. They have a dessert there called Gulab Jamun. If you've never had it, imagine a dense donut hole served in molten syrup and you have a close approximation. Well Kaylie has discovered a true love of these sweet little morsels. "More sugar, please" was what she kept saying (OK, she couldn't handle the name, but we knew what she meant). How many of us adults would benefit from being able to respond clearly and immediately when someone asked what we were looking for? It would certainly make our networking more productive!
Play your own game. We were at the playground about a month ago and Kaylie was playing with Diana, a little girl who was a a year or so older. Diana wanted to play hide-and-go-seek, but Kaylie just didn't understand the concept. She ended up creating her own game which consisted of covering her eyes and counting to 10. For some reason, she thought this was just grand, and soon Diana joined in the fun. Wouldn't it be great if adults chose not to play the "sell at the networking event" game? Maybe we could start up a lovely round of "meet new people and form relationships at the networking event" and get the other attendees to play along.
My daughter is very wise for having only been on this Earth for three years. I'm going to keep an eye on her. I can only imagine the other lessons she'll teach me.
Greg Peters, founder of The Reluctant Networker LLC, writes, speaks and coaches about good networking practice. For more tips that can help your connections count, go to www.thereluctantnetworker.com.