Are you collecting or connecting?

I wasn’t a normal kid.

I wasn’t into cowboys, indians or spaceships.

Bartering, swapping or collecting trading cards didn’t do it for me either.
My obsession was plastic bricks.
LEGO bricks to be exact.

I loved the way I could build things by simply connecting one brick with another. Put enough of them together and you’d have an entire alternate universe for your imagination to play around in.

Deep, involving stories developed – that captured my attention for hours.

But being a kid is totally different to a business-owning adult.

I had to change my ways.

Not that long ago it was the thing to network.
You know the drill:

  • Turn up to the room no one wants to be in.
  • Stalk the room like a hawk looking for prey.
  • Hand out business cards like lollies.

And … worst of all, make elevator pitches and shallow small-talk (all the while not even listening to the replies) while you furtively look for your next victim.

Networking is like the trading card collecting of old.

You collect people.
Get as many as you can.
Trade, upgrade or …
Use those people to see what you can get from them.

It made me feel icky.

Fast forward to now.
Funny enough, I didn’t have to stray that far from my childhood love of bricks to find an alternative I didn’t detest.

Connecting, on the other hand, is getting to know people.

So you’re building something.
Just like LEGO.

It’s not a quantity grab.
It’s civilised, authentic and real.
It’s about having involving conversations about purpose, projects and problems.

It’s finding out if you fit together well.

And … seeing if you can  do something for each other that is useful and helpful. It’s asking questions that go somewhere and mean something.
Most of all, it’s listening to the answers.

Together, you’ll problem solve and future build.

Connecting with clients is all about building trust.

Done well, you go on the journey from get to know through like
to ultimately reach the desired destination…



Hat tip for the inspiration ~ Carolyn Tate
Photo credit: Dave Catchpole via photopin cc

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