This was the second time attending Mdm Goh Ai Yat’s seminar, the first one was money management. This time round she will be touching on networking- I would believe it’s a crucial soft skill especially in the sales line. I do understand a fair bit about networking as I am currently a real estate agent but I would like to understand the nature of networking from a person in another industry. That might perhaps shed some light on better methods which might benefit my business.
She started off by telling us, based on her corporate experiences that generic and technical skills are expected of a manager. However, as a manager is promoted into senior positions, they are actually remunerated based on their generic skills such as networking rather than technical skills. This made a lot of sense to me as Singapore churns out lots of technically-qualified graduates annually and the generic skills that one brings into the job will be their selling point. Rather, it will be their value perceived by the firm that sets them apart from the mediocrity.
Ai Yat also defined networking as an active and systematic process of building, managing and using relationship. It makes the most out of current connections, creates and facilitates new connections, building up social capital in the process. The basic key to do business or ask for a favour would be relationship, and it has to be done professionally
Now comes the big question, is networking an unethical activity then?
Personally, I think networking is a very beautiful thing if done professionally. It is of a symbiotic nature in which different individuals can pool their talents to assist each other. There is an implicit understanding that one who wants to tap on the network must have something to offer in the first place. I emphasize it has to be done professionally, show appreciation for the assistance rendered by offering a fee or treating the other party to a meal. Do not take advantage of the other party as it would be an insult to one’s intelligence if you think the party cannot see through the ruse. Know the rule of the game and play by it, you will then be respected and can make full use of the possibilities offered.
We were split into new groups courtesy of Ai Yat and encouraged to introduce ourselves and share with one another our opinions on networking among the new group. My pure male group consists of Alvin, Frank, Nguyen, Mario and Kelvin-we have 4 different nationalities and people from the real estate industry to retail industry with this very group! Later, there was a short game similar to bingo in which we had to find individuals with similar activities or preferences as indicate by the worksheet. I managed to complete the game and was given a gift for doing so, we were then given time to network with our groups. After the break, Ai Yat then helpfully provided us the a system to start, maintain and utilize our unique network. It was pretty similar to the one I had worked out for my business but the crux was the discipline to maintain the system as crisis will strike when you least expected. That being said, I do not think it would be good if I reveal the specifics about this session.
Lastly, she offered us some golden tips on networking and resources for us to buff up our networking skills. Some of which are derived from the emotional bank concept by Stephen Covey, movie titled Pay it forward and more…
It was a very light-hearted session which allowed me to make new acquaintances, learn some new perspectives and reinforce my beliefs. On the whole, it was worth every single cent of my fee. You can go check out her available courses if you are interested in them.