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Networking 101 – Using All The Opportunities

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The infamous Napoleon Hill says “A group of brains co-ordinated in a spirit of harmony will provide more thought energy than a single brain.”

When I first started my business in 2003, one of my biggest fears was the fact that I was doing this on my own. Now don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with being on my own, in fact, if the truth be told I quite enjoy my own company. The scary thing was that I recognised the fact that I don’t know everything and not only do I know this, but I also know that I am a human being and in times of stress or if I focus really hard on one thing, it often means that I don’t see the ‘wood for the trees’. I doubt very much that I am alone in this, it’s a normal state of affairs, I am sure.

Belonging to and networking with several groups of very different and diverse people means that I get to ‘brainstorm’ with a huge number of individuals, some of who have no knowledge of what it is that I do, but who usually bring a fresh perspective to the problem or new ideas on how to deal with any given situation (and even some really interesting ones too), to the discussion. Let’s face it, we could all do with some extra help every now and then.

By now you will know that my friend GiGi won the Celebrity Survivor (well done GiGi). GiGi is the owner of the Lollipop Lounge in Randburg and she tells me that not only did she have the experience of a lifetime, but she also learnt a great deal, some of which she has implemented into her business. Listening to her speak, it is evident that one of the most important lessons that she learnt was in fact – to listen. GiGi says that if she didn’t just ‘shut up and listen’ she would have been out of the game! Keeping her own counsel and really listening to what the others were saying and what they were plotting and planning enabled her to make decisions about her own strategy that ensured that she appeared to be no threat whatsoever. This is fact was how she won the game.

In her business, GiGi now takes the time to listen to what her staff and her customers and her colleagues are saying. It allows her to ‘get the picture’ of what they are trying to tell her as well as allows her to see the whole picture of what is occurring and this in turn enables her to make meaningful and informed decisions.

This is also true of Networking – people love to talk about themselves. So ask them what they do, what they would love to do, what their dreams and aspirations are and then sit back and listen, really listen – you may be pleasantly surprised at what comes out.