All business owners and freelancers rely on building a network of connections to support them as they grow and develop their businesses. It is a typical rite of passage for us all to branch out and network as we all need a little help in getting the right message out there. You know, that message that says people know you, like you, trust you and that you are credible. There are so many ways that you engage with others in the course of this endeavour but have you ever considered how you are perceived by those you meet? What is the impact of your engagement with others? Are you making a positive impact? Is your engagement helping your business grow or is it hampering your efforts?
The objective of such networking is naturally to become better known, liked and trusted with an end goal that appropriate business opportunities should come your way. This requires hard work involving a significant time investment. If done well these efforts will build brand awareness, confidence in you and confidence in your offering. Sadly all that solid hard work can all too easily be undone in a single moment by hitting the wrong notes.
We are, inevitably, going to give – as well as receive – observations, feedback and suggestions to countless connections along the way. In order to achieve a win-win outcome both the giver and the receiver need to able to react positively whichever side of the equation they happen to be on. If this is not possible then negative feelings will arise and the likelihood of a negative outcome is assured rather than the positive cementing of a long term business relationship.
Thus how you receive feedback is just as important as how you deliver it. If someone has taken the trouble to make observations then they are more often than not genuinely trying to offer you some genuine help or value. In this situation, the onus is first on the person delivering the feedback/message in a positive and constructive way. However, it is equally incumbent on the receiver of that feedback to see that the intent was positive, well meant and offered with goodwill. It is human nature for us to demonstrate an ever-changing range of emotions and different circumstances can affect those emotions and the varying reactions that may ensue. Taking visible offence at what was designed to be of help can only serve to undermine what could and should have been a positive relationship and will serve no positive purpose. Of course it only makes matters worse if you should carry negative reactions forward.
It is a good lesson in listening and understanding for both sides to appreciate this when delivering/hearing feedback. After all, we all want to get along with one another otherwise why network at all?
If you would like to learn more about networking then why not get in touch. I would be happy to help you get started and introduce you to my regular networking groups.