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The Secret Ingredient You Need to Incorporate in Your Networking Strategy

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Hearing the word “networking” brings up images of elevator speeches, stiff interactions, trying to look busy on your phone, and awkward silences. After the initial introductions and “what do you do’s” you’re often feeling panicked to come up with the next intelligent open-ended question in an attempt to keep the dialogue going.

With all the stress and discomfort that networking events bring, they’re still the best way to put yourself out there and meet like minded colleagues and leads to help you grow your business or land your next job.

The tactic often recommended is to ask questions to the person you’ve just met because we all know that people usually like to talk about themselves. This maneuver can sometimes backfire though because it can lead to either the awkward “I ask, you ask” ping-pong game or the one-way “I ask, you talk” situation.

“Networking is an essential part of building wealth.” –  Armstrong Williams

What if there was a recipe to a successful networking strategy where you’ll leave a great impression on the person you’re speaking to and once you learn it you will never again fear networking events? Well, there is.

We all love stories. From a very young age we have always loved hearing them – whether the stories came from our parents, books, movies, or now through podcasts and YouTube videos. We love telling them and hearing them and never seem to be able to get enough.

Sharing stories improves rapport, it creates ease and trust, and it opens room for more conversation.  They are so powerful that big corporations are focused on telling their stories to touch people’s emotions to persuade and influence them. Using the power of your experience and the stories you’ve lived, helps you connect, inspire, and influence.  

Here’s how I incorporated stories into networking events that helped me to build a six figure tutoring company in three years:
  1. I asked a few of my tutors to ask their students’ parents this simple question, “What do I do for you as a tutor?” to help get an understanding of what parents actually thought of us. This was an eye opening question because parents didn’t just stop at ‘you help my child with math’, they went way deeper giving personal stories about how their tutor had helped their child overcome barriers they were facing in school and in their relationships. One of the tutors even said that it brought tears to her face listening to a parent’s answer.
  2. Then I incorporated these stories into the question I most get asked at networking events: ‘so what do you do?’
  3. Once you start with a story, you open up ways for the conversation to go deeper and become more meaningful. Many times the person you are speaking with will start telling you their own story and the conversation will roll from there.
  4. Usually by this time so much has been said that you no longer have to scramble for the next topic to talk or ask questions about. The conversation will flow naturally.

“We are, as a species, addicted to a story. Even when the body goes to sleep, the mind stays up all night, telling itself stories.” – John Gottschall

Even though this method of networking will only give you the opportunity to speak with a few people at an event, it has more value than collecting stacks of business cards that are essentially worthless.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve run into people who have opened with, “Oh, I remember you. You’re the homework coach who helps kids and takes stress away from their parents”.

The impact of taking the time to consider what stories others what to hear and what they want to learn from you is worth the time invested. It allows new people you meet to get to know who you are and what you value.

Try sharing your story. You will be remembered and better still, won’t have to dread networking events.

What are some tips you would give to help when networking with others? Leave your thoughts below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

Mehrnaz Bassiri is the founder and director of MyGradeBooster Tutoring Services. In 2014 she was the recipient of the Youth Entrepreneur Award sponsored by Futurpreneur Canada. Mehrnaz graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Master of Science. She is passionate about education and its impact on our society.

Success Advice

5 Things You Can Learn From The 5am Club by Robin Sharma

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It has been said by Robin Sharma, “5 AM is the time of least distraction, highest human glory, and greatest peace.” This also happens to be the central idea or the core value he has discussed in his book, ‘The 5 Am Club.’ Speaking of early mornings, at what time do you wake up? Are you annoyed by the fact that you wake up on the edge of time and then rush to work in haste? 

The life lessons put forth by The 5 AM Club are exactly the learning and motivation you need to challenge your complacency. In your race against time, you may not have the time to read this fabulous book. So, we have summed up the key book’s takeaways for your convenience.

1. The vigor of waking up early

This is what the book’s most fundamental advice to everyone is. Waking up at 5 am every day can work wonders to avert failures and make success a natural habit. When we wake up at 5 am, we have more time on our hands than others. Besides, this is when we have minimum interruptions and maximum powerfulness of the mind. 

To add, the early morning peace is priceless! You can schedule your most important tasks of the day between 5am, and 8am. This book teaches us in the simplest way, how we can train our mind and strengthen it to deliver the highest productivity by waking up early. This energy that you have when you wake up in the morning and the few additional hours in your day are what serve as perfect ingredients for success.

“The secret to productivity is simplicity.” – Robin Sharma

2. The power of finding the right balance in life

The book talks about a precious lesson of finding the right balance within. We often talk about the need for mindfulness and achieving the right mindset to perceive things. But this book goes a few steps ahead of our usual approach to life. It highlights the vitality of mindset and introduces the concepts of heartset, healthset, and soulset.

These terms may seem new, but they are self-explanatory. The idea of heartset endorses the essentialness of emotional stability and well-being. Next, the perspective of healthset indicates the need to look after physical health. At last, soulset is an attribute of spirituality. As explained in this book, success prospects can be enhanced big time by achieving the right balance between these internal virtues.

3. The iconic 20/20/20 modus operandi

What is the first thing you will do if you start waking up at 5 am every day? Did you ever spare a thought about it? This book has the answer to this question, and you will be convinced that it is a great way to begin your day!. The author suggests that you should split the first hour of the day into three equal parts of 20 minutes each.

In the first 20 minutes of the day, you should prioritize your physical fitness and exercise. In the next 20 minutes, you should energize your soul and spirit via self-reflection and soulful meditation. This will prepare you for the rest of the day and will enable you to bolster your commitment and focus. In the last 20 minutes of the first hour, you should read and learn. But what are you going to read about in those 20 minutes? Read about successful people and their inspiring journeys to the pinnacle of success.

4. The significance of a proper sleep schedule

In this book, there is a mention of ‘a ferocious global sleep recession’, which is intriguing and enlightening. It hints at the state of sleep deprivation that this world is sinking into gradually. We often associate success and hard work with the notion of staying up all night and testing our endurance beyond limits. But that is not the right approach to accomplishing success, or rather, it is a flawed methodology.

Sometimes even if we do not have any critical work, we keep whiling our night time on social media or television. What are we gaining from it is the real question, and I am afraid the answer is nothing! We learn from this book that it is critical to look after your sleep cycle and start your day at 5 am afresh. Sleep and rest are indispensable for mental and physical well-being, or your productivity will decline.

“If you want to have the results only 5% have, you must be willing to do and think like only 5% do and think.” – Robin Sharma

5. The art of evolving

The book sheds light on the need to be spiritual and master self-reflection. However, do you realize the purpose that the routine of reflection each morning serves? The idea is to keep learning, keep reflecting on the mistakes and keep evolution an ongoing process. You should evolve every day and strive to be a better version of yourself every day. So, one of your primary goals after waking up should be to reflect on your actions and missed opportunities of the previous day.

To recapitulate, The 5 AM Club is a must-read book if you are a passionate reader. It has the prowess and charm to refurbish your perception of life altogether. Even if you cannot read the book for some reason, make sure you incorporate the above key takeaways into your life. By starting your day at 5 am, you can rediscover your lost soul and enthusiasm, and you would not have complaints to make about the lack of time. If you can own your mornings, you can go places on the ladder of success, for excuses are only for those who are not committed to their goals.

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Prepare Yourself for Prosperity With These 6 Success Habits

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Success stories don’t come from naturally successful people. They come from ordinary people with starry eyes and big dreams who stayed true to their end goal and consistently put in the work. They are just like you and me. What sets them apart is their mindset — a success mindset. (more…)

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How to Overcome the Emotional Rollercoaster of Success

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If you’re reading this, I’ll let you in on a little secret: you’re a human being. You have feelings, emotions, beliefs, complexity, and a mind that’s always racing. Your feelings at any given moment in your life have the power to affect what you do and how consistently you do it. (more…)

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5 Important Choices that Make Life Worth Living and Success Taste Sweeter

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As we start another year, you’re probably thinking about your life goals, dreams, aspirations, and what you want to accomplish. We know that New Year’s resolutions have gotten a bad reputation because most people lose focus after the first few months and the first signs of resistance. (more…)

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