This may just save you grief.

I’ve always believed networking brought people together for the opportunity of growing through understanding of what their needs are, with perhaps the bonus smile, some great company and the opportunity for referral somewhere ‘down the line.’

Working hard to gain trust with others and understanding that important relationships will ultimately see partnerships and mutual respect is something most of us take for granted.

We need to understand though, there are those ‘out there’ who are not who they say they are and so never intend to do what they say they are going to do. These pretenders are simply looking to line their pockets and believe that people buying from people’ is their right to certain transactions and therefore look to take full advantage of ‘their’ captured client base.

Undoubtedly this attitude is potentially disastrous for any serious Networker, (as opposed to the opportunistic Hunter) we need to ensure that such people are never given the chance to meet our broader established network. In short we need to look hard at who we introduce to our contact sphere – because if we don’t, the potential collapse of our historic trusted relations is a very real possibility.

Partnerships fail when true colours are revealed and the sooner we discover the fakes within our midst the quicker we can attempt to expose them and fortify with ‘real people,’ those who are genuinely looking to cultivate and exchange contacts for the long term.

My advice to you, if you find such a pretender within your network?

Well if you find it is too late to close and padlock that kitchen door, learn from the unsavoury experience and warn whoever may listen before moving on.

They just might thank you for it 🙂

Ciggie saved her …

I was invited to attend a House Of Lords networking group one damp, though mild October evening. “Be there for 7pm.” I was advised by the fellow whom I was entrusted to mentor through his early networking experience.

Dick was a keen networker, a little headstrong although he had at least an attitude for success.

I’d decided to take the train down to Westminster, it was easier on the constitution and I could at least sit and read through the hour-long journey – and it made a change from sitting in traffic.

The journey was swift and I arrived at 6.45, Big Ben saying so and a little early I thought, I’d walk some way over Westminster Bridge and take in a view of the London Eye – all lit up to brighten the Autumn evening commuter evacuation.

Some way along I stopped for a cigarette when I heard a female voice call out:

“Can I have a cigarette please mister?”

Looking about I noticed that the voice came from a woman who had positioned herself atop one of the lamp support pillars that populated the bridge at regular intervals …

“Be grateful for a cigarette please.”

“What are you doing up there?” I asked, surprised more than anything.

“I want to talk to Tony Blair – and I need a cigarette now.” came the reply

I hinted that she was not in the right place to speak with our current leader and that it was a particularly dangerous place to hold a conversation. Why would she not get down?

“I’m going to throw myself into the river because Tony Blair had me kicked out of my house … but first I want to talk to him – can I have a cigarette please?”

I offered her a cigarette and the conversation went into more depth over a few minutes although my encouragement to step down off the barrier was falling on deaf ears, the only attention I was getting was from passers-by …

“Having trouble with the Mrs are you mate?

“Nope, just trying to help someone in trouble.” I replied

“I’m going to jump if I can’t talk to Tony Blair!”

We’d spent ten minutes discussing the benefits of politicians and the alternative of leaping into a very cold river with a strong rip-tide – I was running out of cigarettes and the passing public were starting to linger.

OK I thought, lets try this I thought …

“Here’s my last cigarette, then I’m going to telephone Tony Blair for you.”

“If he’s not here in five minutes I’m jumping, I’ve got nothing to live for, he’s taken away my children and my home.”

It went on …

I was now seriously late for my appointment at House Of Lords and I could not help but notice a crowd had gathered on the terrace to witness the occasion of ‘a nutter about to jump into the Thames.’

“Give me another cigarette …”

I reached for my mobile and dialled 999, calling for a police presence and advising my chain smoking friend that I’d informed the government of her needs.

“Give me another …. Or I’m jumping”

I interrupted her now – look, Tony Blair has your details and you will be discussing all this in good time … but if you cannot wait – jump for all I care!

She froze for a minute, at least it kept her mouth closed momentarily.

The police arrived, they were present on the water also …

What’s the trouble here sir, having trouble with the Mrs are we??

The same reply I gave to the Police … no, simply being humankind …

OK madam, come on down from the barrier, we can talk about this.

“Not until I have spoken to Tony Blair …”

Can I ask why are you doing this madam?” asked the policewoman

Turning her manic gaze at me and pointing a finger directly the reply came …

“Because he told me to!”

A moment of shame before I quickly explained the situation to the police, offered thanks for their support, offered my card and left them to it …

Now 7.30 came when I entered the gathering that had witnessed the show over Westminster Bridge, with most of the excitement gone once the unfortunate lady had been removed from the scene.

Of course once my story was told I was met with surprise as well as bemusement.

“So that’s why you were late” cried Dick, not like you at all, thought there must have been a delay with the trains.

Could I introduce you to Fiona Jones, Head of Community Development for SHELTER.

So began a solid relationship with the Charity which brought many great opportunities for business and I enjoyed 12 months working with the Charity and their B2C marketing plus of course extolling the virtues of networking and preparing Dick for the road ahead – being ready for the opportunity that may be just around the corner and offering kindness and attitude, two of the most overlooked attributes of any networker.

Looking for business? Come and meet the people.

You’ll find plenty to think over at Foxton Hall, Alnmouth on the 23rd September.

Foxton is a lovely Golf Club, hosting our Weeklybiz Trade Fair, 11-4pm Tuesday morn., right after our networking group subsides …

There’s plenty to come and see … FREE entry, seminars from learned people in the business of developing their personal contacts and offering education on diverse skills on offer such as …

11-11.15am   “What Networking Can Do For Me”

11.20   “Are You In The Right Mind For Business Success?”

11.40   “Media Services Your Best Image”

12.00   “Understanding The Web”

LUNCH – Win a Lunch … let’s have a card!

13.00 “Marketing Your Business”

13.30 “NBSL/Regional Growth Network – Funding For Business”

14.00 “Six Steps To A Better Business”

14.30 “How To Choose An Accountant”

15.00 “Finance For Life & Estate Planning”

15.30 “Human Resources and Recruitment”

Apart from the FREE presentations and as well as the Prize Draw, there’s the chance to engage “those in the business”

So, Tuesday 23rd September – come along and meet the people who are specialising in “people buy from people”

See you there!