I recently had lunch with someone I had coached for years. We had a wonderful time catching up about work, life and things we both value and hold as important in our lives.
I provided some suggestions for career challenges and opportunities he’s facing and discussed options for approaching his manager and senior leadership in the firm to work through the issues. As per our normal candid and passionate discussions, we figured out what needed to be done to solve all the world’s problems and make his firm run like a fine-tuned Italian sports car. (Well at least we tried to figure those out.)
Then he asked me the question that most of us long to hear from someone we respect who has the potential to positively influence our lives and careers – “How can I help you Ralph?”. “Well, thank you for asking and here are a few things you could keep your eyes open regarding opportunities for me”, was my response. I then provided him with 3 areas relating to the work I do, and the type of clients and projects that would be of interest to me, and that I would welcome his introductions and referrals.
He listened respectfully and offered some suggestions as to what he will try to do. We ended our lunch said farewell and headed off to our respective next meetings.
What was at play here?
- Mutual respect for the other’s talents experience and ability
- A genuine desire to be there for each other and offer help
- Trust based on years of previous interaction and conversations around important career and life issues
- The principle of reciprocity – you help me, and I’ll do my best to return the courtesy
- A positive and meaningful conversation. We both left feeling good about each other and ourselves because we were focusing on positive ideas and possibilities at a person-to-person level.
You might call this a networking lunch or a personal brand building opportunity. I’m viewing it as an opportunity for two guys who like and respect each other to connect. Bottom line – it was a positive connection!
What about you? Who should you call or send a message to? Once you think of a name, reach out and set up a personal meeting, not just a phone call, and let the power and magic of personal connection, trust and respect benefit you. (BTW – they don’t need to be a big hitter or player. Building relationships with people at every end of the spectrum makes you a more well-rounded and relatable person.)