I had the pleasure of sharing the stage in February with Donna Messer at the Seneca College Business Program Networking Event.  The event was designed to help educate business students during International Networking Week on how to properly network and the true value of networking.  I was asked to share my story of how building a network helped grow my business and Donna was there to show the power of networking.

It didn’t take long for Donna to have the whole crowd eating out of the palm of her hand. 

How did she do it? It wasn’t with the charisma of a motivational speaker, or the fame of a hollywood superstar, instead she used an even more powerful tool.  She started by helping people out. 

“Excuse me what’s your name,” she asked someone in the crowd.

The student gave their name.

“And what do you plan on doing after you graduate?”

The student explained what they wanted to do.

“Would you be interested in meeting with…….” And Donna would go on to name a person that was in the industry that could help them out. 

Of course each student replied. 

“Great send me a message on linkedin and I will make the introduction,” she would say as she pointed at the next person and what do you want to do. 

By genuinely trying to help people out in the crowd she achieved the amazing.  Everyone began to open up and wanted her to help them.  As people were helped they wanted to help others.  They started chiming in with contacts they had that could help people out.  In a very short time she had turned the room on fire.  The students began to understand the power of networking from a true master. 

Too often at networking events people focus on themselves.  “How can you help me,” they think to themselves.  But if everyone is thinking about themselves you have a whole room of apples and networking never happens. 

It takes an orange to think differently.  To understand that people only want to help you after you’ve helped them. 

When you go to a networking event with the attitude that you really want to help other people you discover that everyone not only wants to talk to you, they want to help you too.

The next networking event you go to, stand out and be different focus on helping someone out and see what happens.