Transforming Your Experience of Networking
Sam Dyer has been doing such a smooth, professional job of hosting our online networking meetings, while Jacqui and Justin have made certain everything moves seamlessly in the background. It is said that when something looks easy, that’s because of all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes. Those of us who know some of the workings of TBN know that the success of these meetings is a mix between excellent preparation and rehearsal, and fast flexibility ‘in-the-moment’.
One of the secrets of Sam’s success as a facilitator is the model of communication he teaches, coaches, and lives from NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming). For one of our May meetings, he shared the following video on this powerful model for influencing others and our own outcomes with integrity.
We live in an information-rich world – more information in the external world that anyone of us could cope with consciously and still stay sane. Some commentators think it could be as much as 11,000,000 bits of data per second! Britannica.com says our body sends these 11,000,000 pieces of information per second to the brain for processing, but our conscious mind can only cope with an estimated 50 bits per second. That’s a massive disconnect between the height, width, length, and depth of ‘reality’ and the amount of it that we are aware of!
The bottom line is that there is more going on in any Networking meeting than you and I will ever consciously be aware of! If in doubt, try and run one yourself and you’ll soon discover that you don’t have all the information, skills, and resources you thought was all that was necessary.
10,999,950 ‘Missing’ Gems
If we’ve got the 11,000,000/50 disconnect, this means that the majority of bits of information are being processed at an unconscious level… and there are 10,999,950 bits missing!
It won’t surprise you to learn that the information doesn’t come in ‘as is’ – no, it gets filtered.
The filters Sam mentions in his video are:
In other words, our orientation concerning where and when we are in the world at the moment…
This is one reason why the choice of venue, timing, and the structure of meetings are so important to the quality of the Networking ‘experience’.
Then we have equally important aspects such as our:
- Experiences, and
A great example of this second group is the story of a child playing football with the friendly parent who organises all the football matches on the recreational field. Part of the child’s received script from the family is, “Never trust a cop.” This nonsense from her upbringing, sits there, ready, just in case it is ever relevant.
When she finds out that the great guy who has been organising the teams for months is a police officer, she has a new level of complexity on how she processes that information! If she chooses to stay with the family’s filter, she now can’t trust the information she’s getting from the ‘Cop’.
From a distance, we can see how ridiculous this is, but we all have these filters passed on to us not just from our own real-time experience but also from our family, friends, and culture.
OK, we’re in… except we’re not. Once the information gets compressed through these filters, we face three other major glitches in the Matrix:
- Distortions, and
‘Generalisation’ is where we take ONE thing and apply it as widely and as generally as possible. An example would be someone having had one poor experience of a networking event and thus deciding forevermore that, “All Networking is a waste of time.” You and I know that, “Not all networks are equal!”
‘Distortion’ is when we literally ‘distort’ our perception of what happens so that it fits our current maps of the world. The girl in our example might then distort the Policeman Parent’s refereeing to reflect her map that says, “Cops aren’t trustworthy.” Any vaguely ambiguous call of, “Off-side,” for example, would then be ‘distorted’ as unfair.
My favourite distortion is ‘Mind Reading’ – where you ‘know’ what someone else is feeling or thinking without any sufficient information to back it up! “I just know that 2020 is going to be a difficult year,” is a great example of a distortion. Who knows? It might turn into the best year yet!
“I just know that 2020 is going to be a difficult year.” – an example of a Distorted view of Reality.
‘Deletions’ are great fun too! Here, some of the information is left out. “My customers trust me,” is an example where we don’t know for sure how specifically the customers trust them – how this is demonstrated, what the trust is for, and what products or services this trust is invested in.
Asking, “What specifically…” or, “How specifically…” is a great way to get closer to reality, filling in some of the missing information.
For example, “What specifically are the characteristics that make a great Networking event in your opinion?”
“Are we nearly there yet?”
Having got this far, flowing through filters and other amplifiers or obstacles, we then ‘encode’ the information with our internal senses – the pictures, sounds, smells, tastes, physical feelings, and even what we ‘say’ to ourselves about the information – our self-talk – to store it in our memory.
Once we’ve been on this merry journey, we ‘leak’ what we think through our:
- Physiology – what we do with our body
- State – how we feel, emotionally
- Behaviour – what we do!
…all of this leading to the results we get!
OK, so what’s the great news?
The great news is that we can transform the results we get in life by tinkering with any of the above!
An easy and immediate way to change everything is to change your Physiology. Dance, or even jump up and down to one of your favourite pieces of music before you attend a networking event (even an online one) and you will transform the way you feel about that event AND the energy you ‘project’ at the event.
Remember, “Eeyore doesn’t dance!”
Have you got a playlist of great music that gets you into an empowered mood for networking? If not, what’s stopping you?
It’s an ecosystem – everything is connected. Sam says, “If you’re feeling ‘down’, you may look back on an event and have a ‘dim’ view of it….” Dance around the kitchen singing into a hairbrush and before you know it the future will be looking a whole lot brighter and, as if by magic, you’ll be feeling amazingly energised.
NLP for Networking
Sam has some great communication tips that work brilliantly for networking.
- “All behaviour has a positive intent,” – which means that whatever someone says or does at a networking event, there’s a ‘positive intent’ driving what they say or do. This can really help you cut people some slack if you, at first, don’t like the way they are coming across. How many networkers have you changed your opinion about once you’ve got to know them ‘better’?
- “Everyone’s got their own ‘map’ of the World,” thus understanding their map can create amazing mutual understanding and high-quality outcomes… and can become a real Atlas of Opportunities when you share your maps with them too. (Hint: learn to read their maps first!)
- “Those who have got the most flexibility in their behaviour influence the system the most, meaning that the more flexible you can be, the more likely you are to get the outcome you want to.” This is a great one if you looking for more business through Networking events. If you aren’t getting the sales you desire, change your approach. We’ve had people come to events as visitors or guests and metaphorically thrust their offer down established members’ throats. They soon learn that this isn’t the way we do business. Our Networking is a longer game of establishing Know-Like-Trust first. A visitor who becomes a member will learn to flex their behaviour to focus on the other party first, uncovering the significant was what they offer can truly add value to other members.
Winning at Networking
OK, you’ve got to be ‘in it’ to ‘win it’ – so let’s recognise what an unparalleled opportunity you have to come and experience more of what The Boardroom Network has to offer. Remember, you’ll only be scratching the surface – for every 50 opportunities you consciously notice, there will be 10,999,950 slipping by under the RADAR!
It takes time to mine the depths of what well-structured Networking can offer your business.
Join us and begin to see for yourself why The Boardroom Network is consistently rated as a ‘great experience’ by it’s regular members.
Blog by Lex McKee
Video and original presentation by Sam Dyer