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Jacky Sherman

The Consultant's Consultant

07970 638857


Networking Skills: The 3 Functions Of A Role Model

Sharing your sense of purpose ...


Posted by Jacky Sherman on 14/06/2023 @ 8:00AM

We humans are great copycats. We watch what other people do and then if we like the outcome we'll do the same ...

To be a great role model for others, share with them your sense of purpose!

To be a great role model for others, share with them your sense of purpose!

copyright: lightwise / 123rf

Most of us remember teachers who inspired us. We may have looked up to our mother or father as the person we want to be. We may wish to have the poise and strength of fashion model Ugbad Abdi or come back from adversity like Gareth Southgate.

In business, we may admire Richard Branson, Steve Jobs or Mary Barra. Literature abounds with books teasing out what makes these people great so that we can use them as role models to look up to and emulate.

You needn't go to the very top to seek out your role models either. What about the people you meet and work with every day? Maybe it's worth exploring what they do to make that happen. Equally, as your success grows, others will look at you to copy.

There are three ways that you can use role models to help you generate your business. Sometimes you can emulate that person who seems to get referred effortlessly, and at other times you will act as the exemplar for how you want others to relate to you:

  • Skills Development

    We can learn new skills by watching what others actually do and then trying it out ourselves. There is no magic in getting introduced to your ideal clients. It's about doing the right actions with the right people at the right time. So, observing what those effortless networkers actually do and then trying it out yourself.

    How do they operate when at a networking event? What are they wearing? How do they introduce themselves? What do they talk about? How and when do they move on and arrange to follow up the conversation? When and how do they follow up? What about afterwards; what do they do to build on that initial relationship?

    Now, place yourself as the role model and imagine others are watching you to learn what you do. What do you want them to observe and emulate? After all, you want this person to be an effective member of your network so the more you influence the behaviours you want from them the better. So, go out of your way to help the novice learn. Oh and remember that others will be learning from you even when you're not teaching.

  • Representing the possible

    Often we don't try to do something simply because we believe it's out of reach. We fall into the trap of lowering our aspirations to match what we believe is possible and may even take negative actions to live up to that belief. So, we get the cycle of the self-fulfilling prophecy.

    If the message in your head is, "Networking doesn't work for my business" then you may reluctantly go to events, but you haven't invested in learning the techniques, and you really don't know what you're trying to achieve ... and guess what? You were right! Networking doesn't work for your business.

    Seeing someone else in a similar business get introductions can challenge that belief. It can make you think differently. "Well, if I do what he has done I can make this work!" Now, you're open to at least exploring what he or she is actually doing. Back to those skills development again.

    Now, if you're the potential role model, one of the ways you can help the novice to become a great part of your network is to demonstrate your success. Make them see and believe the possibilities. Networking groups with a structured agenda usually have a formal space to acknowledge the help you've received from others. Even if you're not attending such meetings, talking and encouraging others by sharing your own experiences can give them the impetus to learn.

  • Inspiring you

    Those limiting beliefs can be insidious, and if the heights still seem too strenuous, you may even be demotivated to try. For someone to be motivated, they need to believe that the value of the result is worth the effort they would need to put in.

    Returning to my extreme celebrities examples above; theoretically, I could emulate Gareth Southgate and manage a successful England football team if I applied myself with enough vigour. As I have never played football that will be a considerable effort and, quite honestly, the job doesn't appeal to me enough to make that effort. On the other hand, Gareth's road to becoming the England manager, how he overcame adversity and learnt and applied leadership skills and challenged the status quo does inspire me. Who wouldn't feel inspired when his England team finally won a penalty shoot-out in the World Cup?

    Learning any new skills takes effort so novice networkers will choose their role models from people who inspire them to make the effort. Inspiration comes from our emotional centre where we get that feel-good factor as much from the journey as the end result.

    To sustain the inspiration, your role model has to show you how to succeed and that it's possible in a manner which matches your own values. One CEO once mentioned the 'shaving mirror test'. In other words, whatever he is doing he has to be able to look himself in the eye without feeling uncomfortable. It needs to give you that sense of purpose that drives you in business.

So, my last note is this: to be a great role model for others, share with them your sense of purpose. Why do you offer the services that you offer? If it inspires them, then they will become great members of your business network and be motivated to become skilled at the art of collaborating in business.

Until next time ...



Would you like to know more?

If anything I've written in this blog post resonates with you and you'd like to learn more networking skills, it may be a great idea to give me a call on 07970 638857. Let's have an initial chat over a coffee and see how I can help you.

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