by SJ Barakony | Featured Contributor
How It’s Measured & Why it Matters to Entrepreneurial Success
This month marks another milestone in my lifelong learning journey.
What milestone, you might being asking?
A: 5 ½ years.
Q = how much time has passed since I attended my first ever business networking event?
( And, I still remember where that event took place & 2-3 people whom I met! )
Jumping in the wayback machine & rewinding 2-3 years, I consciously made a servant leadership driven decision then to take focused action on 1 of my 13 resolves:
Leave a legacy by paying forward as much of what I know about networking to those who truly want to learn.
For those who invest time in personal, professional, or leadership development, you will likely recognize 1, some, or all of the below:
So, what’s NQ ?!
Your NQ, or networking quotient/’Q’ score won’t be as obvious, however, if you’re an entrepreneur, sales professional, or considering starting a business, you should know the what, how, & why behind it.
How’s it Measured?
There are five separate, interdependent inputs which comprise your NQ score.
Each can be weighed proportionately, with 1, maybe 2 being more impactful to your professional life.
What are the five?
- Follow Through
Have you attended an event lately? You likely left the room with many small rectangles in your pocket, purse, or wallet popularly known as business cards, didn’t you?
Now, here’s the acid test:
Have you reconnected with the persons who gave you those cards within one week, or less?
Give yourself a self high five if you honestly can say ‘yes, I have.’
You already understand the immense & lasting value of a timeless maxim – “The fortune is in the follow up.”
You haven’t yet? That’s OK. Chalk it up as a teachable moment.
Go back to them, yes, even if you haven’t yet finished reading this, and complete what you meant or should’ve done.
Then, the next time you venture out, learn, grow, and build this habit.
- Asking creative , counter-intuitive Q’s
“What” do you do? How often have you fielded, &/or asked this question?
This is a LVQ: Least valuable question. Let’s infuse some energy, create & use MVQ’s instead. [ Click HERE to Tweet this.]
Here’s a success law :
Make your questions bigger than your [expected] answers.
Here are some MVQ’s:
Why did you get started in (your) business?
Where do you see your business going in the next year?
What brought you here today?
Describe your typical day; how do you go about your business?
- Listening > talking
“Two ears, one mouth; use them in proportion.”
Yet, the art of active listening isn’t often practiced at networking events, is it?
It’s not. And after all these years, I can say this, since this input remains my biggest challenge.
You’re rightfully excited, as I am, about your business; you’re also passionate, and think your service, product, or story is meant for everyone you meet; so why not talk a lot about it, right?
Put yourself on the other side of the conversation; the other individual doesn’t know you yet. You’ve yet to build a win:win relationship. Listen to him/her 1st; pick up on any pain, challenges, problems that might arise from your MVQ’s; then, as you’ve established likeability & trust, you’ll eventually have plenty of opportunity to share.
- Give > Get mentality
Here are three easy to recall networking equations:
- Serve > be served
- Act like a producer & connector > be ‘consumerist’
- Pull > push
In short, always give first : I suggest studying this article for more on this must have mindset.
Relationships triumph transactions at all times; in order to build the former, you’ll need to serve 1st always.
Deliver results for the other person, perhaps by creating virtual or live, on the spot introductions.
- Match your digital ‘footprint’ to your physical presence
Doesn’t it seem like its is no longer taken as seriously as it used to be?
You’re not imagining this, trust me.
If you don’t show up where & when you said you would, you’ve subtracted from your character & relationships scoreboard. And these take effort to rebuild once they’ve been depleted.
Instead, how about always aligning your online/digital commitments to your physical self?
Said another way: When you commit online, be there in person; if you truly have a viable reason for not attending, be certain to invest a moment to let the organizer know so he or she can adjust.
Why it matters
Business networking can & remains feared by some, is considered ineffective by others, and/or is misunderstood, yet when you apply these five principle centric inputs,it’s actually worth your very best effort, investment of time, and willingness to be humble & honeable.
Thank YOU for reading!
** a big thank YOU to friend & fellow entrepreneurial mind, Chad Willett, for also bringing to my attention.
SJ Barakony is a serial entrepreneur, futurist, & connector.
He lives in Ohio & is the Founder of Service Before Self Leadership: An Educational Solutions Provider.
He offers four highly customizable solutions to encourage families, individuals, faith institutions, & business owners to create & cultivate lifelong learning cultures in our homes & workplaces.
He’s been a guest on an educational podcast; been interviewed for an online small business community; is a guest blogger for Innovate NA; and has been an invited speaker five separate times for HECOA.
He believes strongly in youth & social entrepreneurship: He continues to serve two chapters of the YEA program (student mentor, mock judge, ad hoc consultant ) & has co-facilitated a session of the SeaChange Accelerator program.
He also recently became an educational advisor for Tessr.io, a startup in the exciting world of blockchain/cryptocurrencies that will be establishing a cutting edge educational foundation.