Good day! Today’s topic gets me very excited because it’s on networking! Haha. If you are not new here, then you know I talk about it a lot. Why? Because it is a valuable skill to learn especially for those of us in business. I owe every single job and contract I’ve had through my network. I even had my husband through my network. Besides, networking is really about connecting with others which is important because we live with others. In this blog post, I’m going to discuss 3 categories of people to network with and why.
Before I delve in, I just want to say this; I’ve had the opportunity to be at numerous networking events for entrepreneurs and startups and in multiple countries across the world. These are events put together to connect (in my case)businesses to potential investors, customers, donors, etc. These are great opportunities. However, for me, the biggest value I’ve had has been with people with whom I networked without knowing they were potential customers or donors. There was no ulterior motive other than me just wanting to connect with them as a person.
Note: there is no problem in networking with people knowing that they could potentially be of value to you or vice versa. It is also super important that we network with others whose potential we don’t know yet. Here are the 3 categories of people to network with and why:
1. People you perceive to be above you in a certain area
This is where you connect with someone you think could for instance employ you because they work in a particular space you’re looking at getting into. Or someone you admire who can mentor you in say marriage.
I gave copies of my cutie book – Networking Made Easy to participants of a leadership session I was facilitating. The next time we met, one of the ladies came thanking me for the book and how it was so helpful. She told me that upon completing the book she went for a meeting with higher ranked officials than herself. During the meeting there was a negotiation but the other party didn’t want to come to a consensus. During the coffee break, she noticed the leader of the other group standing away and she usually would not have approached such a high ranked person like her but she did upon remembering what she read in my book! They exchanged pleasantries and began small talk, then she later chipped in a bit about the negotiation. Then they exchanged contacts and went back for the meeting. They weren’t able to come to a consensus in their meeting. However, later that evening, the other lady sent her a WhatsApp message expressing how she got thinking about what she said during the coffee break and she was willing to consider it! And it was a win-win for both parties. The lady strongly believed she got this result because she connected with the other woman outside of the negotiation room.
2. People you perceive to be your peers
Many times, we overlook this category of people, perhaps because they are just like us. When I was in the university, I had a good friend who was all over me like a little, troublesome sibling would (Haha). I always thought he was a bit too much but today, this boy who was always disturbing me and whom I’d tried to avoid is an executive in one of the multi-national companies in Ghana! To contact him, I’ll probably have to go through a series of assistants haha! Confession – when we were in school I never thought this boy would grow up to become this big man. (I probably would have been nicer to him, hehe) There are people around us that we may be underestimating and focusing only on people we think have the potential. Let’s not forget greatness begins from humble beginnings. You never know where people are going to be or the doors they can open for you or the doors you could open for them as well.
3. People you perceive to be below you in a certain area
I’m referring to people we perceive to be either of lower status in society, age, education, skills, experience, etc than us.
A few years ago, I had the opportunity for the first time to visit the Jubilee House for a fabulous event hosted by the president. How did I get invited there? It was through a student I had met through one of my numerous speaking engagements at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST)! When I met her she was a student and I networked with her like I normally would. I never knew a day would come where this lady would have the opportunity to work in the highest office in the country and mention my name. And that one recommendation led to many others!
Dear reader, be nice to people. Be nice to everyone because you never know. Now there’s probably someone reading and thinking, ‘Ama what you are saying is OK oh, but that is not my main wahala’. Perhaps you have concerns like ‘I am shy, I see people and I forget my words’, ‘I don’t know what to say after hello’, ‘I don’t know how to keep the conversation going’ or ‘I don’t know where to find people to network with’. Well, you are the reason I created the Networking Masterclass – to help you learn how to build and sustain meaningful relationships. Take this class and invest in improving yourself so you can expand your network. You will learn useful tips, strategies and tools that will be of value for you. To sign up, call/WhatsApp +233 246 25 2330 or click https://paystack.com/buy/networking-masterclass. It is available until 31st July, 2021.
Before you go though, let me know in the comments as well what has been your take away. Till we meet again, network fabulously!
Photo by: Vera Obeng Photography