It's been a long time since I had a blog - all the way back to my days at the University of Glasgow, in fact, but with a new business and a passion for helping others, I thought this would be the perfect format and venue for sharing thoughts and ideas, as well as generating discussion!
The topics of content generation, personal brand and impact have come up recently in a number of coaching sessions I've run, with leaders who are looking to have more of an impact and open themselves up to more opportunities, and ultimately that's exactly what I'm looking to do. For me though, this all starts with networking and the power of relationships!
I've always been someone who has enjoyed meeting new people and learning about them, but since I began planning to leave the corporate world in the summer, it's taken on a new importance, and that's meant a step change in my mindset. While I was very well networked, from a professional standpoint that was largely an internal network and I was very conscious that it was often networking for networking's sake; I like people, I love making connections and I'm raconteur who collects stories everywhere I go! One of my big self-critiques was that I never made effective use of my network - it was always there, broad, deep and growing with every interaction, but I didn't call on them for anything! I never liked the idea of using people, or giving them the feeling that I was, so it meant the pendulum swung far in the opposite direction and I just collected contacts like Pokemon.
With a need now to generate work and build partnerships, I've had to think a lot about how I can do that, both by creating new relationships and leveraging the ones I already have, in an authentic and mutually beneficial way. In the last six months, I've met hundreds of new people and I've taken quite a specific approach, utilising two principles I've picked up from two very different sources; BAMFAM and Cosmic Ordering (bear with me on this one, it's not as crazy as it sounds!)
Firstly, BAMFAM - A good friend, Greg Freeman who is an excellent salesperson, introduced me to the principle, which stands for Book A Meeting From A Meeting; in his world, this means making sure you don't leave any sales meeting empty handed and without follow up. To me, that felt overly aggressive and not in keeping with the way I want to show up in the world, but from my years as a Performance Consultant, I loved the idea of clear actions and next steps, so it stuck with me.
Secondly, Cosmic Ordering! This one I heard years and years ago and it came from one of the most unlikely sources of wisdom - Noel Edmonds! In his case, he was talking quite literally about deciding what you want in your life, ordering it from the Cosmos, and the Cosmos providing! I have no idea why it stuck with me, and I certainly haven't been going outside on my decking and shouting at the clouds, but as I embarked on this journey, it struck me that the more people who knew who I was, what I was doing, what I offered (and how) and what I was looking for, the more pairs of eyes and ears might come across such an opportunity and the more mouths might be able to spread the word!
And from these two seeds, came my approach - whenever I speak to a new or existing contact, I ensure I do two things. Firstly, I talk candidly and openly about my circumstances; where I've come from, where I'm going and what I'm looking for. THAT is my Cosmic Ordering - putting the information out there and having faith that good people put good people together. And as for BAMFAM, while I never ask directly for work or business the first time I speak to someone, in every new conversation I ask a variation of the following question: "based on what you know about me, who do you know that it'd benefit me to talk to?" Equally, because that question is on my mind, I'm always looking to reciprocate (much like the Connectors that Malcolm Gladwell talks about in The Tipping Point) and find the opportunities in my network where I can put people together to do great things. The results of this have amazed me! I'd love for you to try it and I'd love to hear if you have an approach of your own that you've developed!