Ken Sharrar, President of Sharrar Coaches Leaders gave about 40 ELP members in Sandy an excellent presentation on Building Your Networks. He focused on the 3 D’s of Building Your Networks and the 3 Pillars of Networking. We received excellent information that we can implement into our efforts to build networks that work for our businesses.
Ken started his presentation asking the question: What is a mastermind group? The answer is a unique group of like-minded people who coordinate their knowledge and effort, through a spirit of harmony, for the attainment of a common purpose. They give of themselves to help each other attain their personal and business goals. Each person brings to the group their unique talents and learned abilities and experiences, which, when combined with other members, creates solutions to problems that are often greater than the original contributions. When you are part of a mastermind group, you are part of a group that can accomplish great things.
It is often true that members of mastermind groups are already leaders, or they learn how to be leaders in their groups. Leaders influence other people. They take responsibility to lead those that need what they can give. They give from a position of strength, having learned from others in their mastermind groups. You cannot give (lead) what you do not have. Or in-other-words, you cannot lead when you don’t understand the problem or how to deal with it. Knowledge is a foundation of leadership. Sharing that knowledge is the action part.
3 D’s of Building Your Networks
- Decide what your business is all about. Then build a firm foundation
- Design a model and Develop a great plan
- Declare what your business can provide, whether a product or service. Then provide it with solid materials.
As you follow these three D’s, consider your intentions. Determine what you want to get out of your business. Then communicate it with the people you know. But beware that you are not just communicating-sending notices, make sure you are actually connecting by responding and sharing. For instance, suppose you wish to connect two of your acquaintances, don’t just send referrals, notify both parties that you are connecting them.
3 Pillars of Networking
Real “Ken-nections” occur when you have 3 solid legs. Ken sat on a three-legged stool to illustrate his point. Each leg is a pillar, and the definition, share by an audience member, of a pillar is “a weight or load bearing support that holds up the structure,” much like the stool that held up Ken. Take away one of those 3 pillars and the stool is useless. The three pillars of networking are 1) Show Up, 2) Listen Up, and 3) Follow Up. You must have all three to make networking work for you and others.
Woody Allen said that 98% of success is showing up. Be present. Be authentic. Be there, consistently training and learning and networking. Choose groups which make sense for your business. Always ask yourself, “Why am I going to this group? You should be able to help others in your group, using your talents and experiences to build them and their businesses. However, if that is all you get, ultimately you’ll burn out. You have to be receiving some benefit for you and your business to replenish your own resources. A person that always gives and never receives, dries up from lack of water.
Ask yourself, “What is my tendency? Do I give and refuse to receive? Do I receive and forget to give? I must respect others and respect myself by balancing the equation. In any networking group, I need to give, and I need to receive. Ken suggested that we get on a first name basis with others in the group; give referrals and receive referrals; be active and help others, even with pro-bono work; be a liason, introduce people to other people; and add value to at least 10 people at the networking meetings you go to.
The second pillar to great networking is to stop talking and start listening with real interest. Listeners hear great stories with lessons that they can use. By showing real, genuine, active and open listening, you understand what is needed or what is being shared by your communicating partner. And, interestingly, you will find that you are understood, as well by your listeners. They want to reciprocate the leadership actions they saw in you, by actively listening to you.
Ken demonstrated the power of questions when he asked the audience what active listeners do. Responses included: Active listeners stay 100% focused on the speaker. They ask power questions based on what they just heard from the speaker. They ask open ended questions that allow the speaker to respond with ideas and opinions that contribute to the increased understanding of the listeners. They ask compound questions that provoke additional thought and response. A caution was noted in the responses, that some people are just not ready to participate in the networking, and they often show this by their body language and responses. Other networkers need to “read these responses” and note their discomfort and be ready to put them at ease, so they can learn to become contributing members of the group.
Get going. Get over and communicate with the persons you wish to help or could receive help from. Get their attention. Get their business card. Cement the situation by writing on their business card what you learned in the conversation–their hobby, their family situation, their passion, their business. When they commit to help you or allow you to help them, follow-up with a written note by email, text, or personal post on Facebook thanking them and suggesting arrangements to meet. For a stronger impact, send a note in an envelope with as stamp on it.
Use your email to stay in touch with your contacts. This method presupposes you send them something of value that they can use each time you connect with them. This is also the situation you have with those who follow you on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. They should be receiving something of value from you at least once a week on these networks. This not only lets them know you care about them, it gives them something they can use in growing their business.
- Act-What am I going to do to apply what I have learned? What changes am I going to make? What new concept am I going to share with someone else?
- Check my calendar and make sure I am scheduled to Show Up.
- What is my strategy to make networking work for me?
- Do my goals have me Showing Up?
- How do I Listen Up?
- How am I going to Follow Up? Will I Follow Up on someone you sent to me? Will I close the loop?
Book recommendations for added understanding were flying from the listeners in the audience. I mention the ones I was able to write down: The Eighth Habit, by Steven Covey; Never Eat Alone, by Keith Ferrazzi; Purple Cow, by Seth Goden; The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell; “Success Magazine;” and Everyone Communicates, Few Connect, by John Maxwell.