Who do you know? I mean who do you know that you would feel really good about recommending or providing a referral for?
What if I asked it a different way? What if the question was this: Who knows you and who would feel really good about giving you a referral or recommending you as a friend, or for a job, or to join a committee?
You see networking happens all the time, whether we do it consciously, unconsciously, or sub-consciously, we have an opportunity to participate at many levels.
I can share with you that many years ago, when I had my first big opportunity to join a company, the difference maker between why I was hired and beat out the other few finalists was because of the letters of recommendation that were sent on my behalf. They were so strong that the hiring manager almost couldn't believe it. But after following up and speaking directly to the people who endorsed me, the hiring manager became convinced that I was the right candidate and offered me the position.
Facebook and Linkedin have helped me to reconnect with so many people. Some folks that I grew up with and went to school with, others that I served with in the military, and many people that I have worked with or had an opportunity to know professionally. Social media is awesome in that way, connecting us with people from our past as well as our present.
But even without the help of such enabling technology, we still have our immediate circle of friends, family, co-workers, and associates that help us and who we should be willing to help as much as we possibly can. Just think of all of the wrapping paper, Girl Scout cookies, popcorn, or gift cards you have purchased from a neighbors child. If you are like me, you just can't say "no."
If we took this same concept just one or two steps further, we should be asking ourselves things like, "If I am going to buy a car I will buy it from that guy I went to high school with who is now selling cars." Or "If my spouse and I are going to dinner, why wouldn't I go to that restaurant that my neighbors own and maybe where my other friend's daughter is a server?"
I am not sure about you, but I love referring people, connecting people or businesses, and making recommendations or referring anyone and everyone I know to people and companies that I can trust and who I know can deliver a better than good result. Many of my friends and family members work for big corporations, and I am grateful for the work that they do and all the people that they serve. But I must share with you that my heart goes out to the entrepreneur or small business owner and their staff.
One day, and maybe one day soon you will find yourself in a position to recommend someone, refer people to a business, or network with folks where you can help connect the dots between two people or businesses. And you may just even find that when you are a consumer yourself, that when you do everything you possibly can to shop where your friends and neighbors are trying so hard to build their business that you will not only be helping them, but you will truly be enriching your own life as well.
I am not sure about you, but I am going to go the extra mile in seeking out my connections and see if I can make a purchase, give them a recommendation, provide a referral, or help them network. And I would love to hear all about your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org because when we all do lock arms and help one another, it really will be a better than good week.
Michael Norton is a strategic consultant, business and personal coach and motivational speaker, and CEO of www.candogo.com. He writes a weekly motivational column for the Vail Daily.