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Last week I attended a large networking event (I hate them!!!). Affiliated Women had a display to market the Friday, October 3 event. I had 2 women with me and we set up in our space which was very well-situated on the flight path from the entrance into the room. After setting up and getting ourselves situated, we took our places near the front of our space & began conversation with those who wandered by; observed & stopped to chat. As the evening wore on, more & more folks stopped to see who we are, what we were ‘marketing’ & to chat.

Since I’m never comfortable at these large mix & mingle events, I wandered away since my 2 gals were doing an excellent job. I saw some folks I knew & went to chit-chat. I also looked at the other displays (& there were many) before coming back to our spot. At no time did our women rotate about the room or go up to other exhibitors to “sell them“.

Near the end of the evening, several fellows came up to me in a manner with which I was not comfortable. It seems they had been at our display and were just waiting for the “boss” to return. They were both very ‘pushy‘. When I told them that the conversation they wanted to have would have to wait for a 1-2-1 after Friday. . . that didn’t seem to make a dent!

As we walked to our cars, I told my dear women how irritated I was with what had happened! Mainly because the organization touts a similar philosophy to ours. . . but many of its members haven’t gotten the message!!! It was all about “them” and ‘nada’ about anyone else.

All week long I’ve fussed & fumed over what I feel is nothing more than “selling something networking” disguised as “how can I help you!” In fact, I fumed so much that I’m on the verge of saying ‘nada’ to a rather costly membership that isn’t helpful to what we want to do & a source of considerable irritation to me.

This a.m. as I thought about what to write for Wednesday’s wisdom. . .it occurred to me to look at networking from the same perspective I try to look at everything else in life. From “His” perspective. How did Jesus do it? How would He do it?

This is going to be a lengthy post. . .so I’m going to do it in several shorter “spurts!”

When we look at how Jesus conducted “business” - the business of teaching, training, mentoring & coaching. . . we can gain great insight into what works and doesn’t work!

When he laid down his carpenter tools & went out into the ‘world’ to follow his passion & fulfill his purpose. . . he chose a circle of close associates. Twelve in number. They were the folks who were going to get the “inside info” they needed to pick up and carry on his work once he was gone from the scene. He trusted his gut and chose men (remember, it was a patriarchial society at that point & hasn’t changed much since then - uh hum!) he knew he could teach and train - at least with the basics until they received power that would allow them to overcome any human deficiencies.

Then he went about. . . . ! No, he didn’t go to networking events as we have come to know them. He went about doing what he felt he was to do and drew folks in like a magnet. They CAME to him. It was rare that he sought them out. He had that something that others wanted & they came to him once they heard of him and his exploits.

Look at it carefully. He came into an area. His reputation proceeded him. Folks gathered around and begged him to speak to them. He and his ‘gang’ found a place to accommodate the folks; sat down and he began to teach.

From the modern ‘networking’ perspective, that hardly seems the way to build a following. After all, isn’t it about walking up to another, thrusting your business card at him or her & without drawing a breath - launch into your elevator speech? Or worse yet, your 5 or 10 minute commercial. Without stopping to even know who it is we‘re speaking with, we go on and on about “who I am” and “what my business is“.

Well, it happened to me (actually to all 3 of us) at that last week networking event. One man was so tall and large-framed that when he approached me, I felt “accosted” because I was trying to close up our display and get on the road home. When I told him it was a conversation we needed to have after Friday as a 1-2-1, he said “yes” and continued right on, ignoring what I had just said!

I was fuming when I turned the motor on the car and headed out from the northside of Indy for a 1.25 hour drive home!!! I don’t think I would have been as angry had I not been subjected to a lengthy program that was nothing more than a commercial for the organization blabbing on about how it’s all about the other person - not ourselves.

Yea, right?!

So in the insuing days since our major Friday event, I’ve gone back to what I consider the ‘basics‘. How did “my man” (Jesus) do it? How did he train & teach a ‘motley crew’ of 12 men and build a huge following in 3 short years? What are the business basics I can learn from how he did it that I can apply to how I do it. . . and make it work?

Now we know that the Scriptures contain practical wisdom that helps us no matter what era we are living. I don’t know a person who would vehemently deny that. In fact, Laurie Beth Jones wrote a series of successful books using the same understanding. . . “Jesus, CEO“, “Jesus in Blue Jeans“, etc. She looked at the Gospels & extracted the business and/or leadership principles he applied & put them in a format we could all discern and gain from. John Maxwell has done the same with his “Leadership Bible“.

So what can we learn from this? How can we take the same basic principles; apply them and make them work for us in this day & age? Especially when it comes to ‘networking’ our way to personal & business growth!

Well, that’s what I’m going to go into tomorrow (or later today depending upon how the rest of the hours go). First I’ll look at networking Jesus-style, because that’s where I started this saga today. However, there’s a whole lot that went up-front before he began the networking process that drew in the crowds & built his reputation.

My goodness, maybe I should write a book entitled “Jesus, Networker!” Well don’t fret. I’m not going to start it here. In the meantime, I hope this has started your mental wheels turning. That it is provocative enough to cause you to begin your own examination of what I’m referring to and where I might be going next.

Until then. . . make this a day when you become a living ‘magnet’ that draws folks to you who long to latch on, less to what you offer, than to who you are! Because each of you are AWESOME!

Linda, a fellow journeyer



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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Dee Dee Shaw wrote Oct 9, 2008
    • Linda,
      So very well said! I wholeheartedly agree. People like those guys are what give networking a bad name. When you mentioned the big framed guy I thought to myself, wonder if that was Mr.X with my company. LOL I love to share, to educate, to meet the needs of others. I hate pushy sales people. It took me several years to get over that and really embrace networking as a mode of delivery.  

      Sharing Hope,

      Dee Dee



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Linda S Fitzgerald wrote Oct 9, 2008
    • Thanks Dee Dee for your positive comment.  I wrote a continuation of yesterday’s CONNECTION STATION post moments ago at our online community.  I may post it tomorrow as a follow up because it has some good additional thoughts in it.  Or you can of course, ‘hop’ on over to the STATION and sign on to read it for yourself.  It’s at [Link Removed]  

      And yes networking has gotten a bad name because many folks don’t treat others as persons but as a ‘potential transaction‘.

      Blessings to you,

      Linda


      Lf@awomensplace, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Dee Dee Shaw wrote Oct 9, 2008
    • Linda,
      I couldn’t find that page. Do you have to register? I am not familiar with Ning.  

      Sharing Hope,

      Dee Dee



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Linda S Fitzgerald wrote Oct 9, 2008
    • Well Dee Dee, that’s the URL we use and it works everywhere but here.

      If you go to our website at www.awomensplace.org and find/click the TAB at the top that says “Connection Station” (on right side under the banner, it will take you there.  Yes, you have to “sign up” and create a short profile to read everything.  All you have to complete before signing out is the “about me” portion.  Ning is a great social networking platform that many sites use now.  One of the best known one’s in our area is Smaller Indiana.  Easy to navigate & administer.

      Hope to see you there & sorry the link didn’t work.  I’ll have to explore & see why.

      Have a wonderful evening, Dee Dee.

      Linda



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Ghislaine Smith wrote Oct 23, 2008
    • You are totally right because I’ve been in the same situation that’s the reason why I have chosen to be part of the www.thejoyofconnecting.com because our way of networking is totally different than men.  They do give the networking industry a bad name because it’s all about numbers.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Linda S Fitzgerald wrote Oct 23, 2008
    • Thanks for the vote of confidence?  Our networking organization focuses on “R & R” - Relationships & Referrals and is a women-only organization.  It’s so new & so ‘cutting edge’ that it’s taking women a little while to catch on to strategic networking where they actually set followup appointments with each other before leaving the meeting.

      I always look to Jesus as my model for doing things & his non-pushy style with folks accomplished what He wanted for those who wanted what He offered.  That’s the way true networking is intended to work.



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