Network with Passion
Posted by Liz Fuller on August 31, 2007
I read a fantastic post this morning written by Marilyn Suttle. Marilyn is an expert in customer service. She co-writes the blog, LoveThemUp.com. In her post Marilyn tells about a truly terrible day that was turned around by the positive energy exhibited by a waiter at a Big Boy restaurant. The waiter was so sincerely happy and enthusiastic that it was contagious. Along with their chocolate malts, Marilyn and her husband got an invigorating shot of energy to take back home with them.
I loved this story because it illustrates how energy can be literally transferred from one person to another.
Stop for a moment and think of a person who makes you feel good just by being around them. If you are drawing a blank, think of the last time you were around a two or three year old child. Even if the child was a complete stranger in a restaurant or an airport, you were probably drawn to their energy and their delight in the world around them. This type of sincere enthusiasm is compelling. We find ourselves thinking that “we want what they’re having”.
Contrast that feeling to the one we get when someone is pretending to be friendly, as in the stereotype of the “used car salesman”. Even though he or she acts friendly, we can sense that it is forced and insincere. This contradiction makes us uncomfortable. Instead of being drawn closer, we are repelled.
What does this mean to us in our networking?
First, it is important to remember that people are drawn not just to what we say, but to how we say it. Our energy speaks volumes before we even say a word. This can be a challenge for the majority of us who are uncomfortable in networking situations. If we are feeling anxious, scared, shy or depressed, others will sense that and have a tendency to steer clear. This, of course, will make us more anxious, scared, shy or depressed, causing them to avoid us even more, and so on, and so on.
So, what is the nervous networker to do?
First, take a deep breath. Consider that this can actually be good news for those of us who feel tongue-tied in groups. It means that people will remember less about what you actually said, and more about how you made them feel. That takes some of the pressure off of “saying the right thing”.
It also means that it is extra important to tap into our positive energy and passion. Even for the most nervous among us, there are ways to do that:
1) Talk about subjects you feel passionate about – whether it’s the feedback you got from a customer, your belief in how your service can help the world, or the satisfaction you are feeling from knowing you are building a business that really reflects your values, your enthusiasm will come across in your voice and your face.
2) Network while volunteering for a worthwhile cause – again it’s all about the passion and the energy. Don’t get involved in something because you think “you should”. Get involved in something that you would be interested in doing even if you don’t meet anyone to network with. And then, remember to speak about it with passion the next time you’re at a more traditional networking event.
3) Network while pursuing your hobby – Whether it is quiliting or kayaking, a book club or a wine tasting, your enthusiasm is going to come through. When you are doing something you enjoy, your confidence and your energy incease. You will be more open to others and they will be more receptive to you.
Increasing the energy and enthusiasm in your life doesn’t just benefit the people around you. It benefits you! You will feel more passion and purpose in life, and other people will in turn be more drawn to you, increasing your passion and purpose even more!
Tell me about what you feel passionate about – how do you incorporate opportunities to feel energetic into your daily lives?