“You may call it networking Charlie, I call it fishing.”
My wife was highlighting how much time I spent networking (6-8 hours per week.) Sue compared it to being a ‘golf widow’ or ‘fisherman’s wife.’
She had a point. I do enjoy the opportunity of meeting up with my regular group. We share so much, there’s plenty of common ground, being together now for more than ten years and I’m not the only one to enjoy the occasional enquiry.
“Fishing. Put it this way, Charlie … You prepare the night before. Checking the ‘tools of the trade,’ you leave the house as dawn approaches to be at the preferred destination for an informal chat and pre-meeting coffee.“
“In quick time you set up prior to the arrival of friends and guests, the same as you would when fishing. Preparing the scene, ‘the burley,’ assembling the lures, you’re in preparation.”
It’s what I do Susan, this is how the flag for my business is flown.
“There’s more. You offer encouragement to attendees, as you do when fishing, you vary the lures and, depending on the conditions … there’s every chance that you aren’t going to catch anything anyway – it’s right isn’t it?”
Correct. I’m never expecting to come away with business each time we meet up.
“Yes, so you say. I’m witness to your optimism, I see long stretches without any interest in what you do. Just like the riverbank, time goes by and there’s not a bite … correct?”
Yes, (she’s right again.) That’s true, although once you do experience episodes of success …’
“They’re few and far between, aren’t they? You’re not always catching the fish that is going to feed the cause, are you? I get that …”
Susan, once you experience the validation of your skills and are rewarded … you learn a skill for life. You understand that not everyone is in the market for your business at the same time. Like fishing, there are many different contributing factors to the time for success.
If we do something right enough times we start to influence the marketplace (or the fishing hole) and people (or fish!) take notice … our skill is rewarded as our reputation is enhanced.
“So, what you are trying to say is …“
What I’m saying is the many rewards of networking, like anything else of real value, are realised over time.
“And along the way?”
Along the way, long term, helping others for a couple of hours per week can be very satisfying.
“O.K., I’ve learned a little more about networking and about fishing. Tonight we’ll stick with the pizza.”
Marvellous. Fish and chips next week!