Recently, we had lunch with a highly-successful partner in a boutique, full service law firm. We were sharing networking stories & experiences and telling him about the networking and relationship development coaching provided by our firm, Bluestone+Killion.
He "gets it" and is obviously a skilled networker in his own right. He has developed a substantial book of business using his networking & relationship development skills. We hit it off immediately. I am sure we will be sharing connections starting almost immediately.
But mid-way through our discussion, he asked: "Do you think you can teach and coach professionals and business leaders to be strong networkers and relationship developers?"
We were astounded when we realized he was serious. He didn't believe that other professionals who are less experienced and less active networkers could be taught these critical skills. What do you think? Please share your thoughts with us on our blog.
Our coaching experiences
We know that professionals and business people can be taught to be much more effective networkers & relationship developers. We know that those with these skills can really drive new business for their organizations.
On a personal note, over the years both of us have learned & worked hard to really develop these critical skills. Sharper networking skills lead to profitable growth for organizations, accelerated careers and to enriched personal and family lives.
We are all born with different personalities, making it easier for some to be more comfortable reaching out to people; this is certainly part of becoming an exceptional networker. But all professionals and corporate leaders can no doubt improve their networking & relationship development skills regardless of their personalities.
None of us are born with God-given, networking & relationship development skills.
We all have to develop these tools either by:
- being mentored,
- being self taught (there are plenty of books and YouTube clips on the topics),
- trial and error or
- being taught in a more formal sense.
Both of us learned primarily by observing others and trial and error over the past 35 years. Since we are both long-term entrepreneurs, we had to really get good at networking and developing win-win relationships that led to profitable business growth.
We learned along the way how to:
- Overcome the challenges that most face when trying to get better at networking and relationship development
- Reach out comfortably to all kinds of people, all the time, everywhere
- Cold call when absolutely necessary, which is not often the case
- Network one-on-one
- Network at events and in groups
- Follow up in the right way
- Build our own brand in person & on-line
- Use social media
- Become connectors
- Ask for referrals
- Convert contacts to new business opportunities.
The Educational Gap is Vast
Networking and relationship development skills should be taught in our school system starting in high school or earlier. We are astounded at how poorly prepared students at all levels are to really develop and use these communications tools for their own personal and future professional success.
When will our educators get it? They need to build into their curriculums programs for teaching young people how to network and create long term, win-win relationships.
As parents we have the same responsibility and opportunity to teach our kids these core skills.
Bluestone+Killion is approved to provide accredited continuing education within the accounting profession in both New Jersey and New York. Do you think your organization can benefit from improving your team's networking and relationship development skills? If so, let's meet. We can help you strengthen these skills. Share your networking success stories below!