Perhaps because we fill in so many forms during the course of our careers, it seems that as financial types we are always looking for a fill in the blank approach to just about everything.
Is there a formula for 90-second announcements, I am frequently asked? Well, there are some basic guidelines, but beyond that, the time frame is so short that only you can actually decide what should fill that time. (Perhaps with a little help from your friends?)
I doubt that it has escaped your notice, but many of the individuals you call “friend” in your life have something in common with you. I suppose we all have a few old friends from college, and that is the common bond, but by and large the friends you accumulate over the course of your career are more often from your industry or from your profession. (There are all kinds of friends, and I am not meaning to exclude social friends.)
Networking is a process by which one attempts to create meaningful relationships with individuals based on some common bond. It could be an important introduction, or in the case of your fellow members of The FENG, a connection based on your Special Interest Groups or Chapters that kicks things off.
I suppose we could call friends you make through The FENG “adopted” friends in that we have selected them from many other possibilities and made an effort to get to know them. The key thought is that keeping your distance from networking contacts you make directly through our circle of friends is just plain silly. The whole purpose of our membership directory and our “folkway” of trying to be helpful to each other is to ensure that out of this, at times not so pleasant effort of trying to find gainful employment, you will gain something that is in MasterCard terms “priceless.”
The essence of building a personal friendship out of a “networking” contact is to provide something before you ask for something. As in most things in life, someone has to go first. There is nothing wrong if it is always you. I not only won’t think any the less of you if you are generous with your time, I will think more of you. I will not think you foolish or silly. It is the primary element that makes The FENG possible that so many are willing to give of themselves without any obvious immediate return.
While I am primarily referring to our many area chairs, I am fully aware that a huge number of our members quietly help their fellow members.
Building friendships doesn’t yield to a precise formula. What you have to do is always be on the lookout for the OPPORTUNITY to turn a mere networking contact into a good friend, and you do that by not allowing it to “always be about you.”
The effort we all make to build friendships is an art form that is unique to us and our “way.” Everyone is different. And that is why the world is such an interesting place.