Today’s business climate is very different from last year’s. Due to the economic downturn, many salespeople are sending out signals of desperation. But as we all know, desperation is not an attractive posture.

In every financial crisis, there are opportunities for those who understand the inevitable economic cycles and who adjust their focus accordingly. For businesspeople, one of the keys to surviving these challenging times is to identify the pockets of prosperity that still exist and make connections with them. In order to do so, it can be helpful to learn about and apply the skill sets of NetWeaving.

NetWeaving is a Golden Rule and a “pay it forward” form of networking that focuses on helping others fulfill their needs, solve their problems and take advantage of their opportunities—and doing so because you genuinely believe “what goes around comes around.”

There are three important skill sets to becoming an accomplished NetWeaver:

1) Being a connector of others while keeping their needs, problems and opportunities in mind rather than just your own;

2) Positioning yourself as a no-strings-attached resource provider for others;

3) Continuously building your own trusted resource network made up of people across all industries and professions who are exceptional at what they do.

This article focuses on skill set number one: being a great connector of others.

Connecting Others through Hosting Meetings

One of the most effective forms of connecting other people involves hosting meetings to introduce two or more people to each other. This can happen virtually, where you make a connection but are not present at the meeting, or in person, where you are present to introduce the individuals, set the stage for NetWeaving and end the meeting on a pay-it-forward note.

NetWeaving hosting is not only for people in sales. It is a powerful relationship-building tool for people in any field, industry or organization. Whether hosting the meeting virtually or in person, your goal is the same: to connect two or more people together because you have reason to believe they will benefit from meeting each other, whether in a business, family or personal context.

The connection can be strategic, meaning you already anticipate how they may be able to work together for their mutual benefit, or non-strategic, meaning these are just two good people who like to share their gifts, and you simply have faith that they will find ways in which they can help each other and discover people they know in common whom they never would have met had you not made the connection. Some of the most fun hosting connections you will ever make will be non-strategic.

The Value of In-Person Meetings

Hosting an in-person NetWeaving meeting is far superior to hosting a virtual one, because when hosting a virtual meeting, you’re leaving the work of setting up the meeting to the other people. With in-person hosting, you are the one doing the work of setting up the meeting, which sometimes means addressing the questions, “Why are you doing this?” and “How am I going to benefit from meeting this other person?”

When hosting an in-person meeting, it’s important to start out the meeting with a brief overview of why you feel these people can benefit from meeting each other. This sets the tone of the meeting as being one that says, “How can I help you?” Handing out a copy of “The NetWeaver’s Creed” (available from at the beginning of the meeting can help create a “How can I help you?” atmosphere.

The beauty of in-person hosting is that you are there to experience the magic and energy once the parties start talking. In the vast majority of cases, you will find that the most significant things the other people find in common or key benefits they derived from being introduced are not what you might have assumed they would be. The different parties might discover someone they both know well, or that they go to the same church or belong to the same club, or that they have hobbies in common. They might discover ways they can help each other with connections or resources that you never would have thought of.

The icing on the cake, when you are present to host a NetWeaving meeting, is that often when they finish up their meeting, one or both of these people will turn to you, thank you and say, “How can we help you?” Rather than suggest something self-serving, I suggest you simply ask each of them to pay it forward and host a meeting for two other people. Not only will they usually agree to this, they will still come back and say, “Okay, we’ll do that—but really, how can we help you?”

If you want to turn these challenging economic times into some of your most productive and profitable times, watch what happens when you start spending more time setting up NetWeaving hosting meetings—both virtual and in-person.

In his book How to Attract Good Luck, the late A.H.Z. Carr defines luck as “the beneficial effect of chance upon our lives.”

“The first step in attracting good luck,” says Carr, “is to recognize that most of our good luck comes to us through other people. Between ourselves and those who cross our path, chance spins an invisible thread of awareness—a luck-line. To expose ourselves to luck, then, means in essence to come into healthy human relationships with more people. The more luck-lines a person throws out, the more luck he is likely to find.”

Another way of putting this is that the more hosting meetings you set up, the more luck-lines you’re going to create. During these unprecedented times, couldn’t we all use a little more good luck?

Creator of the word and concept of NetWeaving, BOB LITTELL
is a speaker and consultant committed to helping people build and
maintain meaningful relationships. He is author of
The Heart and
Art of NetWeaving and Power NetWeaving.