An Austin Business Networking Story…
I want to tell you a story; a networking story.
Perhaps more importantly, an Austin Networking story. It’s mine, but I think it applies to many of us (if it’s not you, don’t hate).
In 2009, I started networking heavily. I went to breakfast groups, lunch groups, happy hours, every kind of group I could find. I met tons of great people, but after a year began to get burned out.
I was burning time and money, but without making progress for my website/seo/marketing business.
I began to wonder what the purpose was, and if I even needed to be networking at all anymore.
I think this is the hard question we all face with networking in Austin; why am I doing this?
What difference is it making?
Is there something I could be doing that would be more effective?
That’s where I was, at least.
Enter Brad Closson.
I met Brad at a networking meeting (where else?), and at first I didn’t take him seriously. Like I said, I was burned out.
I had met lots of pretenders, and that left me jaded towards meeting new people.
That all changed with one meeting. After hearing half a dozen people sing his praises every week, I finally scheduled a one-on-one with him.
We talked for two hours, and he uncovered all the stuff I’ve been explaining here – the burned out, jaded feeling, the lack of direction – and turned that into a conversation about building relationships.
That conversation changed my professional life (in fact, it was a conversation with Brad a year later that produced the name for my business–but that’s a story for later).
I began to see networking in a whole new light; one of building up others before myself, and one of long-term relationships instead of the short-term, “what can I get right now” mentality. It has reaped benefits that won’t stop producing for a long time.
Do the Hard Work: Care
Brad cares about people. That’s the basis of both his networking philosophy and his business. Sure, he’s a management consultant, and he’s a business consultant, he has 25 years of experience helping businesses improve blah blah blah.
What really matters is that he cares about your success, and that comes through in what he does and says.
So what’s his Big Idea for Business Networking in Austin?
The basis of his networking concept is the idea of growing trees rather than scattering grass or flower seeds. Grass and flowers are shorter-term, lower impact relationships compared to trees, which are hundreds and even thousands of times larger.
The infrastructure of trees, and thus the strength they lend us, can’t even be compared to that of grass or flowers.
Even when dormant, trees give value.
Trees are the networking relationships you want to pursue. It costs you something to produce trees; you can’t grow trees without commitment and patience. Lack of either one will weaken your trees and make them less effective.
For the same net result, you need far fewer trees than flowers or grass. Once they are halfway to maturity, trees need far less maintenance. Plus, you can give more attention to your trees since you need fewer of them.
Brad’s website is www.connectivemanagement.com. You can contact him there, or come out and hear him at our twice-monthly Austin Business networking meeting (we meet this Wednesday, coincidentally enough!).