“How can I help?”
Use this open-ended question as you network, after you have listened carefully to the person in front of you. When they reply, follow through with resources, information or personal connections that meet their need.
Life lesson unpacked: Be generous in helping others.
This willingness to do someone a favor, before they have asked, has launched some pretty spectacular business opportunities. It’s human nature to expect something in return, but instead, our motivation should be based on a spirit of generosity. More often than not, one act of kindness is reciprocated many times over.
For example, when I moved from Dallas to Houston and started to build my network, a Dallas journalist friend whom I had helped introduced me to his counterparts at the Houston Business Journal. From there, I looked to see how I could help the HBJ. I asked what I could offer to help them be even more successful.
This launched a long-term business relationship that continues to this day. The HBJ and PKF Texas have partnered together to create several initiatives including the FastTech50, and we have mutual trust in each other as business friends, colleagues, and resources.
When it came time for our friend John Beddow to retire as publisher, I made the first move to help the new Publisher, Bob Charlet, connect with the Houston business community.
Leisa Holland-Nelson, my lifelong professional friend and fellow co-founder of the Friendship Factor, and I hosted a welcome reception for Bob to introduce him to influential people across the city. Not only did this show him PKF Texas’ dedication to the relationship, it helped him feel a little more at home and solidified our place as a resource for him.
This generosity of giving back helped us form a reciprocating friendship. Just like I do with my professional women friends in the Friendship Factor and other small groups, the relationship not only formed but flourished.
The inclination to share with people how they can help you is good, as long as you have the willing spirit to help them first and the patience to see eventual favors returned. Being generous in helping others is a powerful way to open doors.
For a background on this blog, please see the Preface.
Thanks, Houston Business Journal, for this recognition. I’m grateful for the opportunities we continue to create for one another.