007: Networking

Brandon talks about networking – a vital key to growth for yourself and your business.

I realized that we have had all these amazing interviews so far. Why don’t we extrapolate what we’ve learned from them? On top of it, I’ve got 20 years of false failures and missteps that I have done that I can share with you. Why don’t we utilize that and create a solo show out of it? One of the commonalities that I found to start out with all these amazing interviews we’ve had so far is networking. They’re all master networkers. They do it in their own individual way. But I realized that most people are never really networking. I want to start out with a little story of why I know this.

In my early 20s, I came from the financial services industry. The company I was working for was one of the top 10 lenders in the country at the time. They sent me off to a three-day event where some of the top people in my industry are going to be at. I hadn’t even looked to see who the keynote speaker was, what the side sessions were, who exactly was going to be there, and who I should listen to and learn from. By the way, Les Brown was the keynote speaker. So, I went and I listened to Les Brown. He’s an amazing speaker; an amazing individual still to this day. If you have the opportunity, go hear him talk. But beyond that, my thoughts were on three days I get as getaway. Who was I going to party with? Where was I going to eat and drink? Who I’m gonna hook up with? Those were my thoughts on what I was gonna do. This is one of the reasons why I was poorly networked and why most people are poorly networking. Let’s think about it.

We’re never really taught or trained to network. In the beginning, we’ve got our family and friends— eventually that becomes our inner circle—and school, and then it’s our co-workers. If you’re an entrepreneur, it’s really difficult and it’s a pretty lonely world. If you were a true entrepreneur, you don’t typically have co-workers. That’s where we’re learning how to network. I’ve eventually learned there’s several great resources out there. I’m gonna name a few that have really helped me over the last few years learn how to network better.

First one is a book. Real easy read “Blue Fishing” by Steve Sims. I do consider Steve a friend and I’ve had the fortune of being around him and learning from him, not only from a networking perspective but also from a human perspective. In the book, Steve comes from a bricklayer family and he realizes this isn’t what he wants to do for the rest of his life. He realized people out there have wants or needs and sometimes what we want isn’t really what we need and is really not what we truly want. In it, you’ll learn how Steve finds out that this one individual who wants to have a really fancy dinner in Italy at an exclusive restaurant. This is what he’s wanting, and Steve actually finds out what he was going to provide to them. Steve has to network and connect the dots to have this individual and his friends and family sit at the feet of David, while Andrea Bocelli is serenading them. Throughout this, he has to find out what the museum needs and how does he network to find out what the museum’s truly needing. He talks about how things that we think are impossible are possible. Check out the book and read it. It’s a real easy read and you’ll get some good networking ideas and what you should be doing in that event.

Next: There’s free resources. There’s a group that I belong to called “Build your Network.” Travis Chappell has a free group on there. You’ll have people from different industries chiming in, asking questions, and working with each other. When you can utilize people who are not in your lane and you can take those horse blinders off, you’re able to learn and execute how something and someone else’s industry can easily be plugged and played into yours and become one of those front runners on what you do or what you want to do. Check it out. It’s an easy group. There’s a lot of them out there but this one builds your network.

Next are shows called the Mastermind Effect. There are paid ones. There are free ones. It depends what you’re looking for. Masterminds are great ways in order to be around other people from other industries who are at the forefront of what they do. Learn from them. You’re getting out of that singular lane. Check it out.

Lastly, I came across an article in Forbes and it was by Andy Kramer. She wrote a great article called “How to Network from Home” and why it’s so important. It really centered around women. What I can say is that we should all read it to learn about someone else’s perspective on networking and the challenges people face. It’s a great article on networking by Andy Kramer and Forbes.

One of the other areas is that we don’t realize the true value behind networking. What do I mean by that? Well, we only network with those in our industry. That’s good. You can learn a lot but that gives us that senior lane. If we expand outside of that network, we’re able to come back and maybe be one of those visionaries that’s bringing outside influence ideas. Me, the guy that went to his first networking event that the bank sent them to, I was there just to say I showed up. That was it. I found many people that go to networking events and they’re literally there just to say, “I was here.” It doesn’t do you any good.

We say we can’t afford it. But can you really afford not to think about that? Here are a couple things. When it comes to realizing the value behind networking and picking the right network to be around, make sure that your values align with that network. If not, you’re going to show up and you’ll realize quickly you don’t belong, you don’t fit in, and it’s not what you’re looking for. Make sure your values align with whatever that networks are. Talk to some of the members and see what they’ve gotten out of it. Reach out to them. There are plenty of free groups out there. There are free articles for groups that you can find.

Last, but not the least, the GPF (goal plan flow) . We haven’t created the goal plan flow. We go into it and we’re thinking things will just fall into place. It’ll just happen, just by happenstance. We’re trying to get out of our own skin. It’s not the situation. It’s really my lack of motivation because we didn’t have a goal plan flow. And sometimes, we’d go alone to these events. If we’re an introvert, it’s really tough to get out of our shell if we don’t have someone that can bridge the gap between being uncomfortable and being around people that we don’t know—to actually find your way into a conversation as if we were there with someone. Let’s talk about the GPF. Have a goal. What does that look like? Who do I want to meet? If my goal when I go there is who do I want to meet, am I looking to meet a customer, other friends to network with, or other people in my industry? Have what that goal is before you even get there. Have a plan where am I going to spend my morning session, my midday, my afternoon. Will I go to a speaker session? Am I looking again to meet customers and grow friendships? Have that plan built out. Lastly, go with the flow. There are so many times that if it doesn’t happen the way that we are looking for it to work in our favor, we just flipped out. If a session doesn’t start on time or if the group that I was supposed to meet doesn’t work out the way it is, go with the flow. You will find far fewer stresses and you’ll be able to escape that anxiety that can build up in us by creating the GPF—goal plan flow.

These are my thoughts. I’d love to hear yours as well. I’ll see you on the next solo show.

Main Takeaway — the Common Problems With Networking:

  1. We’re never really taught or trained to network.
  2. We don’t realize the true value behind networking.
  3. We haven’t created the goal, plan, flow.
  4. We go to events without someone who will push us out of our shell.

Resources to Help You Network:

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