With all the holiday gatherings, both professional and personal, it’s a great time to get out and network with potential employers, clients and leads. You are armed with your elevator speech and plenty of
business cards and determined to talk to as many people as you can but WAIT……………
Can we learn anything about networking from Santa? Let’s examine his approach:
He’s a Giver, not a Taker
And he customizes the gift to what we need. Two lessons here. Santa isn’t focused on what he gets but, rather, what he can do for others. He also takes the time to do the research and get to know our needs, wants and desires in order to customize what he gives. Santa knows everyone’s name, everyone’s birthday, favorite food, hobbies and colors. Oh, yes; Santa also knows if we have been bad or good.
Likewise, at a networking event, be prepared by:
- Knowing who will be at the event (ask the host, get the membership roster or list of names)
- Researching the organizations, challenges and the attendees’ roles/responsibilities
- Being prepared to give something away. That’s right; the first “law” of success involves caring enough for others that you provide value before asking for anything. This Go Giver concept is explained further in a great little business book, written in parable style, by Bob Burg and John David Mann. Other principles of this success how-to book are:
- Place others’ interests first – The Law of Influence
- Present your true self – The Law of Authenticity
- Gratefully receive from others – The Law of Receptivity
But Wait; There’s More!
Santa Follows Through
Have you ever met someone at an event, promised to email her/him an article by email, offer to call, or connect her/him to another connection – but didn’t? Yes; life gets busy but we can learn from Santa, who always follows through. If Tony wants a bicycle, that’s what he gets, not a sled. And Tony knows he can count on getting that bike by December 25. Santa is a man of his word and consistently follows through.
Santa’s Brand is clear – it’s GENEROSITY
Thank goodness for Santa. He has been around a long time, through economic booms and economic recessions. In the recent lean years, Santa was still there. Maybe the gifts weren’t as many or as expensive but his message of Generosity still made the season bright. You have heard it before but it needs repeating: you are your brand by your actions and your words.
What is your one-word Brand?
When you leave the holiday event, after talking to either one or one hundred people, you will have left your brand with them. Be sure it is the brand you intend. Everything you say and do will result in an impression you leave with people. Care about them, show an authentic interest in their concerns, providing solutions to their problems or helping in any way will result in a brand of trust and trust is the foundation of all effective and lasting relationships. So whether you are representing yourself, a service or a product, the more trust you build, the more likely you will be able to succeed.
You don’t believe in Santa? You stopped believing decades ago? I’d recommend you re-think that one. Next time you are at the shopping mall, check out the longest line. Chances are it will be the one leading up to the rosy cheeked gentleman, in the red velvet suit, grinning from ear to ear and shouting “Ho, Ho, Ho”.
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