Leaving the Old Hood And Make New Friends

At some point, you’re going to have to get out, leaving the old hood and make new friends, especially if you’re taking your life in a new direction.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve worked with someone who wanted to start a new life, going in a completely different direction, and ended up falling right back into the old life patterns because they didn’t change the kinds of people they were around.

I know you’ve seen it, too. It’s like you can’t overcome the power of “the hood.” The hood represents your old neighborhood, and old support system, populated by people who do not want you to change. They want you to keep your old life and be the old you.

If you really want to break free from your old life, you’re going to have to reach out and meet new people, and if being gregarious and inviting new people to participate in your life does not come easily to you, you can still do the work of reaching out to people outside the influence of your former neighborhood (which could represent your actual neighborhood, your family, former friends, coworkers, or other social networks).

If it’s not coming easy for you, you can practice meeting new people by placing yourself amidst people you would not otherwise have access to. You can check out the events section of the newspaper, or other media to make yourself aware of events happening in your area. Pick one. Show up and set out to exchange contact information with one new person from a different hood. Then pick another event. This time meet two new people, adding one more person to each successive event. It will be awkward at first but it gets better and easier the more you do it.

Don’t wait for someone else to create the kind of event you’d like to attend. Think about being bold enough to sponsor your own meet and greet. Put together an event that will benefit others who are the kind of people you’d like to meet. These could be people who share the same interests in hobbies, career, personal growth or development, anything, really, that could be the common thread. And you get celebrated for being the conduit that connects these people to each other.

You can connect to like-minded people via social media. If you’ve already been active in social media and have it heavily populated with your old hood, think about creating a new profile, that represents the new you, and start exposing yourself and attracting a new audience.

Sharing your ideas and adding value to your new social network can be priceless. Think about making positive, powerful posts that will appeal to your new audience, and even think of creating live streaming videos that will add value and attract the kinds of people you want to hang with.

You don’t always have to be responsible for what you share or stream live You can ask some of the other people you’re meeting to share via your channel. Many people will be willing to do this in an effort to broaden their reach and you are offering a great benefit to your growing audience.

Online forums can be a good way to offer help and add value to others. It can go both ways, you can offer support and also get access to information happening in real time that could give you insight into new trends and help you to come up with new ideas.

You could access an existing group meeting by checking out what’s available in your local area via Meetup.com. Perusing this site for meetups in your area, either by the computer, or convenient phone app, might just do the trick for exposing yourself to new people. There are meetups happening around us all the time, and if you’re having trouble finding the right fit for you, think about starting your own meetup.

Volunteering to support an organization for an event or fundraiser can be huge in exposing you to new people. Plus, there’s no better way to support others without costing you a dime, if you have the time to offer your support to some worthy cause. If you’re attending an event, try finding out who’s in charge and offer to lend a hand for the next event.

If the event you’re attending features presentations by various “experts” in a particular field, if you feel comfortable with the idea, you could offer to be a speaker at a future event. If you find yourself scheduled for such a gig, try to be prepared. Acquaint yourself with your subject and be prepared to answer questions, and if you don’t know the answer, defer with an, “I don’t know, but I will find out and get back to you on that,” type of response. Remember people respect the idea that you’re stepping out and taking a chance at trying something new, so make that known from the outset, people will listen attentively if you approach them with humility and they are more likely to want to support you.

If you’re attending an event and exposing yourself to a new audience, try to acquaint yourself with the type of folks who might be attending the event, so that you’re not likely to stick out, like a sore thumb. If the group is predominantly men, and you’re a woman, you might want to keep looking for another event, or at least to be forewarned and prepared to be surrounded by the opposite sex. It might be a good idea to make yourself aware of the general age of the group in attendance, the average educational background, political, or religious affiliation, or other demographic information so that you can be prepared to better fit in.

Armed with information about what kind of people you will be meeting at any given event will give you time to prepare. Have some questions in mind to ask of the people in attendance. Asking questions is a great way to get to know someone and most people like to be asked questions because it adds value to what they have to offer. You never know, someone might be willing to take you under their wing to show you the ropes.

You want to be a sponge, absorbing new information, but you also want to contribute more than you receive. Be sure to give others your best stuff, and they will respect your contribution to the greater community. Be humble, open, honest and supportive, making sure that people know how they can contact you if they would like further access to you in the future.

If you are having second thoughts about reaching out to new people, it’s probably just your fear of the unknown, because you haven’t done it before. Trust me, the more you do it, the easier it gets. Just be certain not to act like a big shot or know-it-all. People appreciate someone who is humble, open, honest and somewhat curious (but not too inquisitive).

Once you start getting out there and meeting new people, you will find yourself having access to new information you would have never had access to otherwise, and you will find yourself making new acquaintances and friends who are the kind of people who will support your new life.

Don’t take it too seriously and look for the good in all things.

Weave Your Own Web Around the World

We’re all here, players in each other’s life dramas. In some ways we’re all one and in others, there’s really no one but you. And it’s all true. How confusing is that? The best you can do is to play along at the best of your ability.

So, play along, reach out and be a connector. Find ways to connect with other people and find ways to connect others to each other. Be a web weaver of the world.

It all stats with you, so get out there and start networking (and overused word, but adequate). This is a great excuse for you to get out and start connecting. As you connect, try to get to know about something significant about that person, what is their gift, calling, or at the very least, “what do they do?” Care enough to get a way to contact them, even if you aren’t able to see a need of their services for you.

Because as you weave your web around the world you are able to connect people with one another, stretching your web of connectivity throughout the world. Being a connector is invaluable. Some of my favorite people are massive connectors. Be a connector.

Reaching out to people face-to-face is by far the best way to meet people because it helps you get past the superficiality of a person’s cover story. Certainly, there is a wave of acceptance that comes from social media interaction, but still this is only superficial. An authentic connection can only be made hand to hand, eye to eye. Even video chat can’t compete with that.

Think about it… Are you more likely to feel as though you know someone if you’ve met them face to face, or viewed their facebook or linkedin profile and exchanged a few messages or emails?

You want to make yourself available to the people you meet. Doing so without expecting anything in return. For instance, if you meet someone who needs a publicity agent and you introduce them to someone you’ve just met who is one of the best in their field, and you connect them. They go on to do great things in the world, and they don’t forget what you did for them.

This endears them to you, and they will feel a sense of wanting to return the favor someday. It’s just the nature of being a connector, if you’re not using your connectivity as a method to manipulate others, because this energy will be felt by heart-centered individuals, and this will actually repel them from feeling a sensitivity towards you and your cause(s).

When you’re fortunate to get to meet someone face-to-face, get to know them at a deeper level. When I am blessed enough to meet someone, I try to find out more about them than is represented on their business card, web site or facebook profile. You don’t get this chance every day, find out where their heart beats.

Connect like-minded people. As you get to know people better, you’re more able to interconnect them powerfully, heart-to-heart. People who are connected, working together, who share a similar vibrational resonance will far outperform non-like-minded individuals trying to work on a project.

Reach out to other connectors who are also building their own webs of connectivity. This can expand your connectiveness exponentially. Social media is an excellent method to find other connectors, but remember, if you really want to connect, seek a way to get face to face, and offer them your best, expecting nothing in return.

Connections fade away if they are not nurtured, so stay in touch and create opportunities to connect even more with your people. You cannot survive in a vacuum. Check in with them without being salesy or spammy. If you’ve connected with them authentically, your people will want to stay in touch.

As your network builds, calling on the phone becomes less efficient, and I think your people understand this, so it’s okay to reach out in less effective methods, like via email, or private message. They will understand, but still want to keep in touch.

If you’ve connected people, and things don’t work out, offer to lend a hand in making things right. This will turnaround a potentially tragic scenario into a massive, “save,” and you emerge the hero.

Be dependable, reliable, authentic and integrous in all your interconnectedness while web weaving all around the world.

Want to meet people? Be the creator of opportunities for face to face interconnections by creating your own social and networking events. Get out there and create your own events. Yes, you can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to put on a posh event, but you can charge or fundraise to support the overhead. Just make sure you over-deliver.

And once you start – don’t stop. Everyone is watching you, to see if you’re inauthentic, or just out to promote yourself or make a fast buck. No, give, give, and give… and keep giving. It takes a while to build trust among your people, especially those in the fringe, who are considering moving through the crowd to get to you.

Stay on the task and keep weaving your own web around the world.

Make an Impact via First Impressions

When people have been exposed to you and you have had the ability to interact with them, what do they do when you leave the room?

While people will make a decision regarding you in as little as 10 seconds, are there ways to influence what they think of you in a good way, given a few more moments? It’s up to you.

Wouldn’t it be nice, if after you left they said good things about you, or at least mentioned that you seemed to be different, insightful or inspirational, or maybe you made people think outside the box, if only for a moment? That’s what happens when you make an impact in public.

You’re not drawing attention to yourself, or demanding anyone’s attention but you’re giving the most you can in the few moments of exposure you have with people who may not know who you are or what you do and making a good first impression.

What Turns Them On?

Find out what excites them and ask them about it. Listen to them and ask questions. If that’s all you do, you will make an impact. If you like, you can work in a little networking if you can think of a story that relates what you do or might like to say in a way that relates to what turn them on.

Edify Others

When someone does a good job or earns some type of accolade, don’t miss an opportunity to edify them, introduce them to others or thank them publicly, honoring their efforts. If you are seen as someone who appreciates the efforts of others and takes the time to honor them and have their moment in the sun, you will be revered as an edifier or cheerleader.

Whenever you hear of someone’s good deeds, by all means, find ways to recognize them and lift them up for doing good, or helping to make the world a better place. This will have a meaningful impact on the person you’ve edified, as well as the people who will appreciate your efforts to acknowledge and honor someone’s good deed.

Tell Stories

One of the best things you do is to be a story teller. Story tellers don’t just spill out the facts all over their audience. No. They tell stories with dramatic detail that sparks the imagination of their audience. With a little practice, you too can become a story teller. Think of colorful ways you can spice up what you have to say and hone your skill of storytelling to make an impact.

Be Creative

You can learn all the skills about how to work a room, and do the best you can, but don’t be afraid to try something new, that may benefit the people you meet, yet leave a positive lasting impression. Especially if you’re sharing the space with peer who may also be trying to make an impact, you need to think about how you can still make a positive impact in a way that sets you apart from the other people who might be working the room.

 

 

 

 

Put On a Show

You’ve seen people who garner the attention of a room by putting on a show of sorts, multiplying their networking efforts by turning their interaction with one person (or a few people) into a spectacle that causes others in the room to break from the conversation and look to see what’s happening over there. While this kind of theatrics might require a certain level of self-confidence, with a little practice, you might think of ways you could turn an impromptu demonstration into a method of getting people to wonder who you are and what you are doing.

Make Things Happen

Think about accepting opportunities, or volunteering, to take an active role in putting something together, like a group function or event. If the even or function is a success, then you will be recognized as the go-getter who gets things done and makes things happen. This is excellent public relations (PR) for which you can humbly accept the praise for a job well done on the behalf of others. This will definitely make an impact and you will be remembered for your efforts.

 

Dress Appropriately

Looking good and fashion appropriate for any event can help gain the approval of others when you walk in the door while schmoozing with the folks at any event. Try not to over-dress for the event because you don’t want to appear to be snooty. And even though under-dressing might make you stand out, the effect might not be what you’re looking for, and it can make it harder for you to gain the confidence of your audience if you’re inappropriately attired.

After all, ZZ Top said it best,

Every girl’s crazy for a sharp-dressed man.

 

Who Do You Know?

Think about who you know, how have they made an impact on your life? Think about emulating the techniques used by the people whom you respect. You don’t have to parrot their persona or hypnotize yourself to act like that person. Simply note how they interact with other people and see if you ca add some of those attributes into your character.

You Are One-of-a-Kind

There’s no one else on this planet who is just like you, so celebrate your unique characteristics and maybe think of a way to let your individuality shine through without overshadowing others. People will love you if you can come across as a real person who is authentically unique and self-confident with humility and grace, always leaving a good impression and making an impact.

How to Work a Room

Q: Where do you find individuals to model?

A: Working the room at networking and/or social events; and so should you.

Successfully working a room is a complex method that either comes naturally to you, or will take a lot of concentration and work to develop the skills necessary.

Your assignment (should you choose to accept it) is to go forth, find a venue and work the room yourself. If it’s outside of your comfort zone, then you are a true hero; not just the hero in your own story but a beacon of hope for others – who, like you – are struggling taking this critical step, too.

If you know people in this venue, do not hang out with them. Make it a priority to meet people that you don’t know, ask them who you should introduce yourself to and set your feet in motion. Consider sitting next to someone you don’t know.

Here are 10 things to help you prepare for the next phase in your journey as you develop your networking skills.

If you can, meet with the most high-ranking person that you already know at the event (a special guest, event promoter, or other friend) visit with them briefly and ask them who you should talk to next (who could most benefit from your service or help promote your service).

How to Work a Room in 10 Steps
1. Introduce yourself
2. 30 second elevator speech
3. Ask about them
4. Listen
5. Care
6. Can they help you?
7. Can you help him/her?
8. Exchange cards
9. Invite them to call you
10. Next

Avoid the person who appears to be purposely avoiding interaction with others. But acknowledge them with a friendly nod as you work the room, letting them gain their own courage (if that is what they lack) from witnessing yours.

If you must proceed blindly simply walk up to someone who possesses a commanding presence and isn’t actively engaged in a conversation. Feel confident enough to break character for a moment and honestly say, “I expected to see someone I knew, here, but to tell you the truth, I don’t see anyone in this room that I know. What’s your name?”

Once they’ve recognized your plight, he or she will likely be enthusiastic about introducing you to some other folks in the room to help you get started. If not, try the same approach with another person who appears to be a confident extrovert. Really, all you have to do to get the ball rolling is to

1 Introduce Yourself

Be polite, friendly, smile and say, “Hi, my name is _________ … and you are?” It really is that easy.

They may or may not ask about you, nonetheless, early on, comment on the event, their appearance, then:

2 Give your 30 second elevator speech

You have rehearsed this and can recite your 30 seconds worth without it sounding as if it was simply recited or memorized.

Never be shy discussing your business with anyone. They may not need your services, but may someone who does.

3 Ask about them

After you’ve established who you are and what you do, begin learning about the person you’re meeting. Ask exploratory questions. You’ve indulged yourself, now it is time to connect and discover more.

Have they travelled or done this before? Ask them why they are here.

Don’t ask questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no. Invite them to expound by asking who, what, when, where and how questions. When they’re answering questions, they’re doing the heavy lifting.

4 Listen

Yes, your intention is to promote yourself but you do so by listening to the person you are meeting.

Listen for clues for ways you can help them on their journey or can help you on yours.

Practice active listening. Look them in the eye (this may be uncomfortable for some, at first but it is an important component of effective communication). Make the effort to paraphrase and repeat portions of what is being expressed by the person you are meeting.

5 Care

Don’t just acknowledge the other person, but show them that you care. You can express caring about a stranger in a brief conversation by nodding or making appropriate facial expressions to mirror the emotions that they might be feeling at a deeper level as they speak.

6 Can they help?

As they are expressing themselves, be listening for ways they might be able to further your purpose.

7 Can you help?

Suggest a way that you might be able to help them, if appropriate, based on this brief exchange.

Emphasize how you can help them rather than how intellectual you are. People are interested in what you can do to help them.

People appreciate generosity and authentic offers of assistance and your help may simply take on the form of an empathetic ear and compassionate understanding of their plight.

8 Exchange cards

Do not force a card on everyone that you speak to. Offer your card only if it would be beneficial for this person to contact you later.

Remember, this is not a sales call, but if this person might see a need for your service, product or skill(s) – or if they have asked for your card – then absolutely you should give them one.

Likewise, if they have skills that you might need, either now or in the future, you should request their card.

If you get someone else’s card, write notes on it, so that you can remember who they were. Getting other people’s cards is actually more important than giving out yours… and this only works if you follow-up and invite them to participate with you.

9 Invite them to call you.

If you’ve given them a card and there is potential that you may be able to serve them in some way, make sure to invite them to call you so that you can discuss more details of the possibilities that may be uncovered in this brief interaction. Remember, this is not a sales call, nor is it a time to close. Keep it brief, because you must move on…

10 Next

Move on to the next person. If you don’t know who you should speak to next, ask the person you are wrapping up with. In most cases, you will find them eager to suggest someone that you should talk to and may even escort you to the person and introduce you.

Exiting the event

Don’t just leave. Thank the presenter, guests; re-connect with the people you’ve connected with before you make your exit.

Following the event

Follow-up. If you do not contact them again, then there will likely not be potential gain. Give them the opportunity to move through your social circles.

It’s all about building lifelong clients and friends via relationship.

Excerpt from Success Attributes © 2008 David M Masters used by permission.