Speaker: Kingsley Aikins is the CEO at the Networking Institute, where he coaches organisations and individuals to reach their full potential through networking.
Moderator: Elaine Carroll, CEO, All-Ireland Business Foundation
We all agree that ‘Your NETWORK is you NETWORTH’ – and now more than ever what we need is to harness the power of our networks.
During our recent masterclass on The Power of Networking in a PC (Post COVID) world with Kingsley Aikins, we learned some priceless lessons on building and growing our networks.
Networking is a skill that many of us have had to develop and learn to build through experience, as it is something not taught in universities.
On a personal note, immigrating to Ireland back in 2009 (at the depth of the recession) – I have come to truly value the significance of building a diverse network.
On behalf of AIBF, I’d like to sincerely thank Kingsley Aikins for sharing his decades of insights with our accredited All-Stars and our network.
You can read through a quick summary of the 42 lessons from the session below. If you missed the live Masterclass, you can listen to the video recording here. VIDEO LINK
To your success!
Elaine Carroll, Kapil Khanna & team at AIBF
42 Lessons to Master the Art of Networking in a Post COVID World
- Dig into your network which you have built up over the years, and reach out, check-in, start a conversation. Let people know how you have adapted and pivoted in your business.
- Think like farmers. Networking is so much more about farming than it is about hunting. And I think right now is the time that we all have to prioritize nurturing the relationships and the networks that we have.
- We take in this notion that self-isolation is an opportunity for self-development. And we use old mill dyers expressions ‘when business is down, that’s when you paint the shop’.
- One conversation can change your life. Life frankly is a game of inches. And we know from sports the difference between winning and losing, coming first and second. You need every single little advantage you can get.
- Networking is not about anyone big thing. It’s about doing lots of small things, that when you do them on a regular daily basis, they become habits. They become rituals. They become basically who you are, and how you perform as a person.
- There is a price to be paid for being an average networker.
- It’s about a mental shift. You become relationship-driven, rather than transaction-driven.
- Action – It’s about altering your behaviour. And if you don’t take action, nothing happens. as you know, you can’t learn to swim or learn by reading a book. You gotta get out there.
- Disruption was a part of our lives even before this all happened. Uber, Airbnb. A quote by the head of Mercedes Benz. “You know, our competition in the future won’t be car companies, because they won’t exist”.
- Change is happening now faster than ever before, and never will be as slow again.
- Peter Drucker said ‘to create a future you have to be the enemy of today’.
- Charles Darwin quoted ‘it’s not the strongest of the species that survive, even the most intelligent, it’s those ablest to change’. It’s handling the current change and figuring out how we’re going to do that, given what’s going on.
- 80% of good jobs are not advertised, so networking is very important. Companies want to hire people and wire into their network, they want to know your qualifications but also who you know and network with.
- What’s your reputation? Your reputation is what somebody says about you. When you’re not in the room.
- Difference between a mentor and a sponsor. Who’s going to speak for me? Carla Harris, says ‘you need to have a mentor. And that’s somebody who talks to you. You need to have a sponsor, somebody who talks about you’.
- What are you known for? You need to have somebody who speaks up for you, who’s your mentor who’s going to help you get known?.
- Everybody has a personal brand, whether they like it or not you, you can’t opt-out of it. In fact, not having a personal brand is having a personal brand.
- Do you want to decide what your personal brand is? Or do you want other people to decide on this? And when you let other people decide what your personal brand is, it generally is not the brand that you’re most comfortable with. You need to be in the driver’s seat rather than in the passenger seat.
- You need to become known. Not famous. A go-to person for your expertise in your industry/circle.
- People seemingly shy or introverted actually become terrific at networking because they do it with decency, authenticity and integrity.
- If you’re looking for an opportunity, you’re really looking for people. It helps you find suppliers and find customers and attract staff and get investors all that good stuff.
- Having a good network is an antidote to loneliness, which is one of the great scourges of our time.
- Be diverse in your network. We tend to hang around with the same people. 30% of the working-age population is not born in Ireland. Getting some different kinds of views is important.
- Be high tech, but also high touch. Understand technology, the power of technology, the way that we can connect extraordinarily around the world.
- Build social capital – resources available to you and your business. it’s going to become a real game-changer and differentiating factor in the 21st century.
- Be a purposeful network.
- People who have strong and diverse networks live longer and are happier.
- Big thinkers monopolise listening. Small thinkers monopolise talking.
- Give the power of your undivided attention. Listen like an interviewer. You learn everything when you are listening but not when you are talking.
- Building trust. Trust is not an event. Trust is doing what you say you’re going to do over and over and over again. When you build a reputation for trust, it is a huge differentiating factor.
- Networking is about giving not getting. It’s about thinking about how we can give more to an individual and that is the most generous thing we can do.
- Serendipity & Luck. Serendipity doesn’t happen to lie in bed or sitting, it happens when you do something. There is a gentle wind that is always there so play your role in creating it.
- Strong and weak connections. It’s important to have strong connections, but weak connections are equally important. Nurture your weak connections – look at them as a bridge.
- Curiosity = innovation. Being curious is important.
- Keeping records. Remember some small piece of information on your network. Family, favourite restaurant food, music, books, holiday – when you repeat that back to them at a much later date, it shows two things. Firstly, that you listened and secondly, you care.
- Four Categories of your contact list. Print off your database, clean and sort out list into four categories.
- 1st the lowest level, somebody you met somewhere, you put it on your database, you can’t even remember who they were.
- 2nd level up is somebody that’s on your database, you know them, they know you, if they call them you, you know who they were, and vice versa.
- 3rd is a relationship level. you’re interacting, like each other, trust each other. (strong part of your network).
- 4th the top of the pyramid. I call a friend, people I work with, somebody who could call their cell phone Sunday afternoon.
Get rid of people who shouldn’t be there. It’s worth making an effort to connect with them.
- Cultivation. It’s taking people on a journey that’s going from a position of total ignorance of you and your organisation, to position to the position of actually terrific affiliation, connection.
- Solicitation. Someday, you actually have to sit down and ask your contacts for something. This could be for a piece of business, it could be for contribution, referral whatever it is.
- Stewardship. This is after-sales service. The number one reason why people give up doing business with another organisation is they detect the spirit of indifference somehow rather, their business is taken for granted.
- Picking a phone call with people for no reason is a good reason. There will be more drama coming and we need to be prepared.
- A really powerful question that you can ask every time you’re with somebody in your network. ‘How can I help you?’ and learn to be a world-class listener.
- Lastly, be FUN to be with, you know, life’s hard and busy. We’re great at it for having a crack. So sadly, something we’re all missing now. It’s been fun to be conscious.