Networking Tips: Share Your Hobbies And Interests
It could help you make a real connection ...
Posted on: 29/01/2014 By: Jacky Sherman
If you were running a professional firm would you choose a biker as your coach and mentor? Sharing your hobbies and interests could help you make a real connection and gives others the trust in you to start referring ...
Coach and mentor, John Wade, rides a BMW K1300GTSE and believes his hobby perfectly compliments the services he offers!
Many of you will know by now that I love giving my clients ''aha'' moments that shift the way they approach their business and the people they work with. I often get the added bonus of an ''aha'' moment myself. Recently, John Wade gave me such a moment when describing what he loves about riding his motorbike.
Now I teach people that understanding a person's personal interests is a key part of developing a referral relationship. A person's passions are usually expressed in their private hobbies and interests.
However, I could never get my head around reconciling what I knew about John Wade with his love of motor-biking. John is a highly successful management consultant and leadership coach. He comes across as very focused, contained and precise, thoughtful and well researched; the consummate professional.
John doesn't wing it! My image of a biker was the opposite of this. So I asked John how he expressed the joys of biking in his professional life. Here's what he said.
"People find it strange that I ride a motorbike - a BMW K1300GTSE for those who want to know. It's what's known as a Sports Tourer and is perfect for older blokes like me who've grown out of the need for speed at all costs ... though it still goes pretty fast.
I think it's a surprise mostly, because we all have an image of ourselves and others and it comes as a shock when people find out something different about you. It works for me because it gives me the contradictory thrill of freedom with the need for constraint.
There is nothing quite like riding down windy roads, feeling the joy of fast (and safe) riding, anticipating corners and feeling the wind rushing past you. Track days are especially enjoyable as you know it's just you and up to fifty other riders racing round a circuit, knowing the rules and pushing themselves and their bikes to the limit. Wonderful stuff!
At the same time, there's a critical need for pure focus. Anyone who rides will tell you that there really is no telling what car or lorry drivers will do next and you need to keep your wits about you and always be aware of what's going on around you.
It fits so well with what I do for a living. My business is all about change - working with people who know where they're going and are conscious that anything can throw them off course. Having to be prepared, yet wanting to go along for the ride; people who work with ambiguity and the need to be able to get along with those who perhaps have diametrically opposed needs, wants and opinions.
Having to spot when an opportunity to go faster arrives; yet being conscious that there may be a need to change direction or simply stop. Not the same level of risk, of course - yet change is risky, too.
Biking also fits really well with my coaching practice. In both instances, my approach is about paying attention to what is and what might be important; keeping my wits about me because I often don't know where my clients are going - though they do; and being sure that I ask the right questions that work with the circumstances and conditions. Uncertainty and anxiety are apparent on the road as much as in the office!
A certain amount of experience and maturity helps - panicking or reacting inappropriately or aggressively has no place in either the biking or coaching world.
The right behaviours will get you a long way. Safely..."
Aha... I get it now, John!
So my tip for you this week is: next time you're standing around the coffee machine talking to people in your network, take the time to share what you do in the evenings and weekends and tell them why. It may be the final piece of the jigsaw that gives others the confidence in your abilities at work and inspires them to refer you.
If you want to learn more about John's coaching and mentoring services then click here to find out more. If you want to learn how to inspire others to refer you then do call me on 07970 638857 today!
Until next time ...
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