In over 20 years as a public speaker, time and time again, I realize that better than half of the average person's personal productivity and success in life is through the good cooperation of other people. I do not mean to suggest that if one does not have the good cooperation of other people that he or she cannot be productive and successful, but rather, that one cannot be as productive and successful.
And the sad thing about those who do not enjoy the good cooperation of others is that they will never know what they did not receive. They will never know the business connections that they did not get, the social invitations they could have had, or the helpful advice they might have been presented with to make their lives easier. Networking is as old as time. It is the idea that we need not do everything ourselves and reinvent the wheel over and again. We can all mutually benefit from the experiences and knowledge of others. It is not a new practice to any of us. We network all the time. The question is, "how far do you want to go with it?" Time management and personal productivity are significantly enhanced when we use the concept seriously and methodically practice the concept.
With six billion people now on the planet, it is said that all of us are related within no more than six levels, otherwise known as the "Six Degrees of Separation." To get to the answers, the help and the information you need to make your life better is never far away.
My own success in the professional speaking business has come to me largely through networking and the good cooperation of other people, although, like the cobbler's son who had no shoes, I sometimes fail to follow my own advice. When I started my business 20 years ago I thought I was a marketing genius. After all, I had an MBA with a concentration in marketing. I then proceeded to do every bone-headed thing imaginable, wasting precious resources of time and money until I began to practice what I preached and reached out to others who were already successful in my field.
And I got the help that I needed because the number one topic of conversation that most people enjoy is themselves. And when people talk about themselves, they like to talk about their successes, don't they?
I learned how to market and promote my business and how to manage it effectively as well. Through the generous help of others, I stopped spinning my wheels, learning the errors that others had already learned. I now spend a good amount of my time helping new speakers to succeed, sharing the information that I have received and adding in my own successes.
And that is the essence of networking because networking is not a selfish technique, just drawing from the well. It is consistently helping to fill the well, not only taking but giving back. The more help you offer others, the more you get in return.
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