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Networking and Geese

Posted on: Wednesday 01 March 2017

Geese fly in a V formation (sometimes called a skein) and from the research that has been carried out and published in journals such as Nature we can learn a lot that can be transferred into business and life! Especially networking!

Goose fact 1.  As each goose flaps it's wings it creates 71% more uplift for birds that are following, so by flying in formation the whole flock adds 71% greater flying range than by flying alone.

Lesson for business

By getting people to share a common direction and sense of community then you can get to a destination quicker and easier because all are travelling on the thrust of one another

Networking perspective

A networking group or event has a common purpose;  to benefit all those there in a win-win way.  Whether this is through  becoming better informed, gaining more knowledge, building relationships with suppliers, raising your profile with potential customers, sharing expertise, generating business opportunities with those that you meet (and perhaps even the people they know!)

Goose fact 2. When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of flying and quickly moves back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird in front.

Lesson for business

By adopting the awareness of geese we will stay in formation with those headed in the direction we want to go.  We are willing to accept their help and to help others.

Networking perspective

By growing and building your network both face to face and online (business contacts, customers, suppliers, friends, family, social groups, alumni, trade, online groups) and staying in contact with them you will generate opportunities;  sharing a link, making that call, thinking of how you could help others and how others can help you are all part of a successful business strategy.  A simple message is found in team; Together Each Achieves More.

Goose fact 3.  When the lead goose tires, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies to the point position.

Lesson for business

It pays to take turns to do the hard tasks and share the leadership.  As with geese we are all interdependent upon each other skills, capabilities and the unique arrangement we have of gifts, talents and resources.

Networking perspective

As the leader of the business, by definition, you are the vanguard, the main man/woman, CEO, MD and possibly everything else! And also by definition the person who needs to know everything, be an expert in everything from HR, health and safety, accounts, sales, marketing, customer service, commerce, IT, websites, social media, transport/logistics, fulfillment and then having to fit in your own life;  family, children, holidays, the school run, leisure, sport, hobbies, food and drink, shopping, DIY and sleep.  How can this be done in 24 hours?  When do you get the time to do what you are best at;  the service you provide, the product you designed, the expertise that people want?  With  your network you have unlimited expertise and people who can help you get what you want from life and business.  And the best thing is that you will know these people, probably like them and that's where the trust that is so important can begin!

Goose fact 4. The geese flying in a formation will honk to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.

Lesson for business

We need to ensure that when we honk we honk encouragingly.  In groups/businesses/organisations  where there is encouragement, the production is much greater.  Communication is key;  the right message, delivered in a way that people can understand and see how they can make a difference is key.

Networking perspective

At a networking event perhaps not so much honking as conversation.  The conversations that you have should be about those that you meet and not a sales pitch from you.  By asking questions you can find out so much about why a person you meet does what they do, what challenges they may have, what they are looking to achieve short term (long term), the successes they have had, what they are working on currently and when you do find this out then opportunities will start to become apparent for you and even better for those that you know.  

Try asking the unexpected question, the one that causes someone to stop and think; the answer will always be more memorable for all and give far more insight than "what do you do?"  Although you have the opportunity to be memorable when asked what you do; stay away from the stock, standard response "I am an "..and I do.....  A well known example is from Harley Davidson; do they build/sell motorcycles?  No they provide experiences!  Do I arrange a monthly networking lunch in Bristol? No!  I ensure that you have the best environment for a conversation that can lead to connections and collaborations.  Once the people in your network are all "honking" then there will be unlimited possibilities.

Goose fact 5.  If a goose gets sick, wounded or shot down, two geese drop out of formation and follow it down to help protect it.  They stay with it until it dies or is able to fly again.  They then launch out in their own formation to catch up or join another flock

Lesson for business

If we have as much sense as geese then we will stick together in difficult times as well as when we are strong;  collaboration can help for any business; as has been mentioned no one knows everything even if you are in the same business sector the expertise can be different even niche.

Networking perspective

A business going through difficult times can get through these with the support of the network. Knowing where to turn for help is something that a network can provide;  businesses that are sick can be saved if you know where to find the best expertise.  With the people in your network you will be able to ask for the help that you need; if someone cannot help directly they will certainly know someone who can and the connection can be made.

In conclusion any networking that you do (or are looking to do) can be very much like the geese in their formation;  something that is second nature, common practice and that is mutually beneficial.  If you can apply this to your networking then you will undoubtedly become more successful!

Sean Humby is Director of Business Network SW and host of the events in Bristol;  bringing decision makers together monthly at lunchtimes to build long term business relationships.  The events in the South West are held in Bristol and have been since 1993

Networking and Oscar Wilde

Posted on: Thursday 23 February 2017

Originally published on LinkedIn and now available here! During the course of my daily research I discovered that Oscar Wilde was born on 16th October 1854. My daily research you may ask? I'll explain what I mean! A top tip received from Guy Arnold

The majority of us have a mobile phone; most of them enable you to leave a personal voicemail message that people who call you will get if you are unavailable; but how many of those messages are unique and tell the caller that you do actually reply to your voicemail messages?

That's where my research comes in - I record a new message everyday - stating the day, thanking the caller for calling; explaining when I will call back and finally a fact for the day!  Facts are provided by Wikipedia - births, events, observances (I don't do deaths!) and there has never been a day when I haven't found one!  I will confess that I do this Monday to Friday but I do know that there are facts that will be there for Saturday's and Sunday's!

And that is why you are now going to see how Oscar Wilde came up with so many networking quotes (perhaps inadvertently as not even Business Network was around in the late 19th century!)

I'll start with the reason I love quotes.  These are all from goodreads

"Quotation is a serviceable substitute for wit."

― Oscar Wilde

I am sure that you can see the relevance to networking - the preparation, the actual events, the follow up, your conversations...

"Ultimately the bond of all companionship, whether in marriage or in friendship, is conversation, and conversation must have a common basis, and between two people of widely different culture the only common basis possible is the lowest level."   If you are going to network then be prepared for a conversation not a sales pitch or elevator pitch; ask questions that are unexpected and get beneath the surface.

"The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention"  At an event, before an event, after an event think about what you can do for someone else - introduce them to others, share knowledge, share an opportunity even just get someone a drink or even more radical go and speak to someone who is on their own or even someone you have never met before!

"You can never be overdressed or over educated" You are representing your business/organisation - it is Brand You so how are you coming across?

"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." More of Brand You - relax, enjoy, talk about things other than business - let people see the real you not someone who has just swallowed the corporate speak jargon book complete with synonyms, acronyms and the other business B***S***! 

"Experience is merely the name men gave to their mistakes" Share yours, it's not a weakness; in fact it could be the just the thing that starts a really great win/win relationship

"I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train"  Nothing to talk about at a networking event?  Your diary, looking back and forward is a great place to start - it's about you, what you do, the businesses that you help, the businesses and organisations that you are looking to help - need I say more?

"Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go" Guess what you should be working towards!

"There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about"   How can you make yourself and the benefits that you bring memorable?  Is it during the conversations that you have or is it the way in which you follow up?  You do follow up don't you?  Not just with a spammy email or a newsletter with something that shows that you have paid attention and listened.

"I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never of any use to oneself"  You are an expert in your particular field, you'll know experts in other fields, perhaps you share a common interest - whatever it maybe feel free to share, help, pass on something useful, be a connector.  We all know how abundance works don't we?  Great paper here by Wendy Jansen and Wilma .van den Heuvel

"A pessimist is somebody who complains about the noise when opportunity knocks"   Need I say more!

Feel free to say more, comment, share and add!

Business Network SW Blog

Posted on: Sunday 19 February 2017

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Business Network SW Blog

Posted on: Tuesday 18 October 2011

It's novel, it's neat, it's nice, it's nourishing

It's here!

How to be more productive

Posted on: Tuesday 06 September 2011

courtesy of Inge Dowden - Polyglot Coaching

Take some time out to read the twitter, blog.

P.P.S. My coaching journal This is my life is an excellent tool to help you make the most of your time.