I was surprised again today by the power of networking and meeting people.
I had two appointments at a coffee shop, one with a guy I have known for years and the other with a guy who was referred to me by a recent friend.
The guy I had known has been out of work for a while and he and I had talked about a year ago about opportunities for him. He asked to meet again today and of course I said I would. What was unusual about it was that he was bringing an opportunity to me! I had assumed he wanted some help again and was certainly happy to give it, but I was surprised to hear that he had something for me.
The second guy I met was referred by a “street person” who I had met at New Hope Center, a treatment facility that takes people off the street in addition to others. I have spent a little time with him mentoring him and trying to help him with some life issues. He told me he had a friend who was starting a business and needed money and asked if I would be willing to talk with him. I told him yes as I would always do, but deep down suspected this would be a crazy situation. It wasn’t! the guy I met had years of business experience, a worthy business plan, and experience with people I had worked with in the past. He was for real!
So, what did I learn? First, networking with people seeking jobs sometimes seems a waste of our time, but the opportunity that came to me by my earlier willingness to talk with him could offset all of the networking meetings i have had. Second, I learned that contacts can come from anyone, even a “street” guy! My intention of reaching out to help someone in need may result in a business opportunity for me. The guy I met was also surprised that I was for real given the source of the referral. He had also reached out to the New Hope guy in an effort to help too. I don’t know if I can do anything for fee for him, but he is a very real prospect and he indicated that I was a very for-real source for him too. He and I were both glad we trusted our “unusual” friend and made contact.
Last, I talked with a woman refilling my coffee in the coffee shop and learned that she has a public speaking business in addition to her part time coffee shop job. We exchanged cards and I checked out her web site; she is a great contact for me in seeking speaking opportunities. I hope I can help her too as she wants to get a book published and I have learned some of the ins and outs on that. I also learned that she works at the coffee shop part time in order to get health insurance through them, and it is very inexpensive. I was impressed, she knows how to make a living!
It pays to get out and talk with people and find out about them; you never know where an opportunity will come from or you will learn something.