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Jacky Sherman

The Consultant's Consultant

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Networking Skills: Let Others Invade Your Privacy

But only up to a point ...


Posted by Jacky Sherman on 20/09/2023 @ 8:00AM

Believe it or not, invasion of privacy is not a product of the technological world. Ever lived in a village? Let me tell you a story that really sounds like a TV sitcom, but happened in a village in Sussex where I used to live ...

Networking Skills are essential both in business and when you live in a village!

Networking Skills are essential both in business and when you live in a village!

copyright: zagzig / 123rf stock photo

John and Amanda were attempting to have an affair. Both lived in the village with their respective partners, and they knew that any attempt to meet up locally was likely to be noticed by someone from the village.

So they arranged to meet up in a remote hotel in Wales for the weekend. You're probably ahead of me already. Saturday morning they came down to breakfast to find a couple from their village sitting at the next table.

"The story was around the village by lunchtime!"

What a coincidence! Not really as amazing as you think when you learn that Amanda had heard of the hotel from a friend in the village who had heard about it from another friend through another friend, who it turned out, went there regularly as she was a keen hill walker.

If you think about your business network as your village, you can use this story as a warning, but also to your advantage.

First, the warning is fairly obvious. Don't cheat on your spouse! In business, this applies to everyone. Nothing gets around a network faster than someone being unethical or dishonest. So guard your reputation carefully as getting caught out will happen and the gossip about you will spread like wildfire.

The second point about this is about knowing the source of your information. What are people telling you about others? Do you know the real source of the information? Networks work by a friend telling a friend and the whole message doesn't always get passed on. It's called Chinese Whispers.

Think how useful it would have been for Amanda to know that the source of her knowledge about the hotel in Wales was a neighbour who went there frequently?

"How can you use this story to
your advantage?"

It really is a small world, isn't it? There might be 7.5 billion people in it, but the reality is we keep bumping into the same few. These are people who share our interests and our routines in both business and pleasure.

So if you like travelling to far-flung places like China, then you may well bump into someone you know or who knows someone you know on the flight to Yinchuan.

Now, if you're trying to get away from everyone, that might be annoying. However, if you're doing business in Yinchuan, then it might be a useful business contact or the very least they may tell you about a restaurant you should either visit or avoid.

"My tip this week is to let others
invade your privacy!

Build your virtual village and make it a small world. Surround yourself with people who have similar interests in both business and leisure. These are people who are likely to know other people you want to meet.

When you go networking you are going to bump into these people time and time again. Yes, they are going to talk about you. That's the point; they are your best sources of information, introductions and advertising.

The more often you mix with them in different contexts, the more likely you are to build the trusting relationships that will result in you both being willing and able to help each other positively. Oh, and you'll flush out the cheaters too!

Until next time ...



Would you like to know more?

Networking skills are essential to growing your business, so if you'd like to learn more, call me on 07970 638857 and let's arrange to meet up for an informal coffee and a chat to see how I can help you.

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