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The day I met a tall, handsome stranger…

You already know that networking is a critical success factor to having a successful career, but how often do you make a conscious effort to network, or even better actively seek out and create opportunities to network?

After recently being impressed with a direct approach from a tall, handsome stranger, I wanted to share the story with you. Firstly, a couple of clarifications:

  1. No, this doesn’t happen often

  2. No, I wasn’t in a bar in soho at the time

So – what’s the scoop?

It all started with an email titled ‘I really enjoy your dysfunctional requirements blog‘. Boom. A solid start right there, grabbing my attention and instantly making me warm to them. Clearly this was someone of impeccable taste.

He introduced himself, complimented the blog again (this is always a cracking way to get onside of any budding writer), then requested a meeting.

The goal?

Nothing pushy, just an honest request to grab a coffee and have a chat, as we had a similar background career wise and he is coming to a potential crossroad in his career.

He wanted to talk to someone new about this to get a different perspective, and to start to build a network of ‘real’ contacts, not just random people on LinkedIn.

What a great approach. I was (and still am) very impressed with the balls and the honesty of it.

A blog is something you can hide behind. Whilst you churn content out, you get relatively little feedback in return. It’s different to presenting to people face to face. You can remain a bit of an enigma because people don’t know you, they’ve never met or even seen you. But you still put yourself out there, week after week and share your views on the world at the risk of ridicule, or even worse being ignored, yet with the dream of making a positive impact on someone, and encouraging them to be a better version of themselves.

As a reader, you are even more hidden. From me. From other readers. You can remain totally anonymous if you choose and have no need to interact if you don’t want to. Even to add a comment to a post takes a little courage and effort, which is why most people don’t bother.  But to reach out as ask for direct face to face contact takes real guts, and a clear intention of taking ownership of your own future.

So well done that man. You reminded me that in order to build a solid network you need to be someone –

  1. willing to take ownership of their future

  2. able to come up with an alternative approach to networking

  3. who takes action

  4. interested in seeking a different perspective

  5. with the balls to put themselves out there

Oh – and yes, we did indeed meet. We had a good chat, lots in common, and I’m sure it will not be the only time we do this. We are strangers no more.

So until next time, I wish you luck young(ish) man.

Thank you for letting me share this story. Thank you for demonstrating what good looks like and being a positive example for others to follow.

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