So much of what I know today about networking came from watching my dad interact with total strangers. In fact, the lessons learned from watching him in action are part of one of my signature talks. He’s the one who inspired me to become an instigator. I can vividly remember being a child and watching him start conversations with people he didn’t even know. He’d simply tap into his inner curiosity about life and people and start asking questions or making some crazy comment about the weather or whatever was happening around us to break the ice. Before long, he’d be “holding court” with a group of people, laughing and fully engaged in conversation.
Oftentimes, dad would stand back and watch the strangers he’d just introduced only moments before having a conversation of their own. He was so great at asking questions and then just listening. Listening to what they had to say. Learning from them. He made people feel good. He helped people to feel heard, appreciated, understood, and equally as important, valued. Whether we were at church, a ball game (dad’s favorite sport), or standing in long queues at Hersheypark or Disney World, he effortlessly got people engaged.
This month, we honor and celebrate the foundational role that dads, step-dads, grandfathers, uncles, and our beloved father figures play in our lives. Fathers provide critical feelings of security to us, both emotional and physical. They play a vital role in teaching their children and creating structure and development in their lives.
Dads take pride in their work and what they create. They reflect on their achievements and guide their children to do the same.
Their wisdom knows no bounds. How often have we reminisced about stories that our fathers and grandfathers have shared with us? Whether a valuable life lesson or simply a funny tale to be enjoyed repeatedly, they give us special memories to hold on to for a lifetime.
Networking is something that comes quite easily – if not effortlessly – to many men. They enjoy connecting with others and being the connectors of people. They enjoy referring people and being the “bridger” of gaps that may otherwise exist. Forming lasting bonds with their peers is something they relish.
They keep a Rolodex of trusted connections they can confidently recommend to others. They’re excellent referral partners and trusted advisers when it comes to networking.
Ro·lo·dex 😁 noun a desktop card index used to record names, addresses, and telephone numbers, in the form of a rotating spindle or a small tray to which removable cards are attached.
Give me a thumbs up if you have or have ever had one. At one point in my corporate career I had two. My dad’s rolodex was in his head…he always purposed to remember people by their names and professions and how they made him feel. His philosophy was…Make people feel heard and if they do the same for you, you'll remember them. Click To Tweet
Research on today’s dads in the workplace tells us that even though having a successful career is important, men want to be fully present and involved, both as a parent and as a partner. Watching their children grow up and creating memories as a family is of paramount importance to them.
Meaningful conversation is what brings people together. Click To Tweet Meaningful conversations are what trust is built on. It’s what increases the know, like and trust factor. Regardless of whether those conversations occur professionally or personally, they help us to form bonds with another.
Whether being an exemplary role model in the lives of their children or within their community, we recognize the many contributions that fathers give back. We recognize and celebrate fathers and how they’re constantly networking. Whether that’s professionally at networking events or with their clients. Whether it’s through their personal endeavors like taking their kids to an event, talking to other parents on the sidelines of a soccer field or on vacation, we salute you. We recognize the amazing role models you are for your children and all that you bring to our community at large
In the early days of my networking, I set intentions to remember people and what was going on in their lives. I channeled the indispensable lessons my dad taught me and used his example as I built my own network of connections.
I’d love to know what lessons your dad, grandfather or your father figures taught you about life and connecting with others! Share in the comments below and describe how you felt watching your own heroes, both as a child and as an adult. What did you personally learn and how have you applied those lessons in your life?