How we view the people in our network is dependent on the relationship we have with them. We all need to free ourselves from being judgemental. Pre-judging a new member is a mistake. Preconceived notions are ideas or beliefs that a person forms, before actually encountering someone or something, or before getting to know them.
What you think about and speak about, you bring about. In other words, if you view someone in your networking group with disdain, you well most likely never have the opportunity to build a close business relationship with them.
Suggestion: Be an optimist! Invite them to lunch outside and away from your networking hangout. Spend some time getting to know them. Ask lots of questions about them and their business. Pretend you never ever thought of them in a negative way and work to discover ways you can help each other. I call this “demystifying” people you think you don’t like (or have a good opinion about).
It is important to remember that “trust” is the foundation of ALL relationships! There are sometimes good reasons to never offer a business lead to someone in your network. I once gave a “red hot” lead to someone in my networking group and found out later that they never called them – even though they told me that they had called numerous times with no response. The referral was a good friend of mine and I had told him that the person I was referring him to was dependable, honest and reliable. After speaking with my friend, I discovered that he had received no calls or messages and after two weeks there was no follow-up from the person I referred to him. I had a very private meeting with the person I referred to my friend and called him on his stuff. Although he denied that he hadn’t called, I trusted my friend and told him that he would never receive further leads from me. He dropped out of the group two weeks later.
Never underestimate someone because of his or her current profession. Do you have professional bias? We all have it at times – the belief that we are in some way superior to other professions or that because they are in a profession we are not familiar with they are someone that we could care less about. That’s a bad idea. Open-mindedness is the remedy.
Pre-qualifying works but prejudging does not. Keith Rosen, MCC said in his book, “To permanently eliminate any confusion, let’s draw a distinction between what it means to pre-qualify and prejudge a prospect. If you read my cold calling book (The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Cold Calling), you know that I’m a strong advocate of pre-qualifying anyone before you invest your time in meeting or speaking with them. Conversely, prejudging shows up in the filter or barrier that you have in your listening.”
When you pre-qualify someone for membership in your group, you determine whether or not there’s a fit worth pursuing based on a predetermined set of criteria and the use of well-crafted questions. Prejudging, put simply, is all about you. To prejudge someone is to make assumptions about them before you have asked any questions or uncover any facts.
Stop it! If you’re guilty of prejudging, don’t do that anymore. You may miss an opportunity. Networking is about helping others. Do everything you can to be of service. Be enthusiastic when you meet someone new. Drop all judgements. Be respectful. Keep a positive attitude about the people in your network for much better networking results.
BONUS Article: Do You Vet Your New Networking Members?
Copyright © 2012 – Larry James. Adapted from Larry’s latest book, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”
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