It Is Personal

Have you heard that oft-used expression, “nothing personal, it’s just business?”  I’ve never liked it.  So many of us spend so many hours “at work” that it is very personal!  In fact, personally speaking, I try not to draw too discrete a line between my work life, my community life, and my home life… it’s all just my life!

That being the case, today’s conversation is all around making it very personal.  It’s recognizing the emotional, physical, and psychological impact our interactions with others have on them and on us.  As such, take these points into consideration:

  • Know your audience.  Whoever it is you are meeting, understand who they are and what makes them tick.  Are they most comfortable meeting up at a coffee shop, going for a walk, or visiting by Zoom?  Is it helpful to them to have a formal agenda for your discussion or do you anticipate it to be a free flow of ideas?  Do they respond best to email, text message, or phone calls?  If you don’t know, ask.  Get to know your contact better by learning about their likes and dislikes.  Once you have a sense for their preferences, deliver on them.  Your ability to personalize the experience for your contact will be appreciated.

  • Be a giver.  I recognize that in networking, we don’t just get together with others for the sake of doing so.  Sometimes there is a transaction involved.  We all need something sometime.  With that in mind, enter every conversation – whether you need something or not – prepared to be a giver.  Be generous with your time, information, and resources.  Ask your contact what you can do to be specifically helpful to them.  Make it personal.  The more generous you are, the more will return to you – now and in the future.

  • Engage authentically.  When you encounter others, do so with your whole self.  Be true and trustworthy in your actions.  Ask questions that you really want to know the answers to – and really listen when your contact opens up to you.  By connecting with others in a genuine and authentic manner, you are building your brand as someone with integrity and amassing social capital that money cannot buy.  Of course, keep it both personal and professional, but do so in a way that shows others who you really are.  Afterall, it is personal.

Happy Networking!

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