When we look at the preparation and planning stages prior to attending a business event, one of the areas we unpack during the seminar is how necessary it is to be “in the room”. To put the day’s issues and concerns to bed before we enter the room, so that we can be ‘present’.
A couple of the core skills of good Networkers?
Being able to frame and ask the right questions and then being a good listener, to actually hear the answers, so you can spot that all important “Ahaa moment” we go there looking for.
Difficult to do if you are thinking about things that have happened earlier in the day, things that may have to be attended to, online, after the event and matters that will need to be dealt with tomorrow.
It was probably never brought home to me how challenging this can be, more than today.
It was also probably never more apparent how important its is to keep this in one’s consciousness and to be able to actually ‘make-it-happen’ than today.
Today, 5 minutes before I was due start a full day seminar in Reading, I received an SMS from my one of my very best friends (funny to still be using such a phrase when you’re 48!) which unhinged me. For context, Carol was best man at my wedding and her husband, MJ, affectionately known in business and amongst friends as The Other Michael Jackson, kindly acted as my photographer.
The jist of the message was that Carol had made a dash to A&E within 20 mins of MJ having had a heart attack – an angioplasty was undertaken, a stent was immediately implanted into the main artery to his heart, and his blood sugar was badly ‘off’. Also, her elderly father had been admitted with a thrombosis and was in the ward opposite her step-son Alex who had also been rushed in for an emergency appendectomy.
They live 8,000 km away in Johannesburg, from where I have recently returned, and the distance means I can offer no tangible physical support and can only chat and motivate from afar.
I feel so impotent! (Oh for unlimited wealth and the ability to hop a flight to wrap a supportive hug around my Pal as she wrestles frantically on three fronts! To be there for just 5 mins !)
But the show had to go on.
As we teach, so we must act… so I marshalled all my focus and professionalism to ensure that my valued clients received the very best I had to give. I got into that room!
Networking and Working the Room have 4-key letters in common.
And so many networkers let themselves down and also the brand they represent down by acting inappropriately when in networking environments.
So, at business events, as in life in general, I encourage you to remain conscious of your role and responsibilities when in the public domian and to always choose (and it is your choice) to present a positive mental attitude throughout all your endevours.
Put aside the issues and pressures which, lets face it, confront us all, to varying degrees, every day and go out there and Be Present.
Decide to maintain a professional effort, in everything you do.
Be conscious and handle your own ‘stuff’ in your own time.
But, phew ! My heart is sore… and I’m glad it’s over.
The good news ?
All three are out of danger and doing well
… and hopefully my delegates never even knew I’d missed a beat !