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To celebrate the launch of the 2nd edition of ‘How to make partner and still have a life’, Heather Townsend, explores how the power of your mind is often what is holding you back from generating high quality referrals via your network.

Your mindset is SO important to the end result

When you think about a rainmaker, what naturally comes to mind? I’m guessing someone who has an amazing black book of high quality relationships? Of course, that is true, but becoming a rainmaker or someone whose network always provides the right level of leads has to start somewhere. That place is your mind.

Any one can use the power of their mind to develop relationships which generate high quality referrals. This is not a secret skill you have to spend hours learning. This true story from a recent workshop, I lead with a law firm, will show you how you too can generate more referrals in business just by working on your mindset.

When you have already decided you wouldn’t get any benefit from an event

I think most trainers and workshop leaders have been there. The workshop is due to start and the client, or key member of the team is late for the workshop. Do you start, on what is going to be a packed day, or do you wait for the person to arrive? With seconds to spare my client – i.e. the one paying the bill for the workshop – arrived with an apology.

As I do with most of my workshops, I invited everyone to share what they would like to achieve during the day. I was surprised to hear that my client was only going to be there for a couple of hours. (This wasn’t what I had been lead to believe!) He was dreading having to go to an annual networking event that he had attended for the last four years or so.

Being the curious facilitator I am, I naturally asked him why he was dreading the event. After all, there could be important learnings for the whole room from this conversation. Apparently, it wasn’t the actual event, but the people he would met on the bus ride to the event. The people he really clicked with travelled there in different ways, while he always went along with several colleagues ‘of a certain age’ who were (his words) “all boring old farts.”  Unlike my client who was enjoying growing a young law firm, they were all approaching retirement and spoke about nothing but how they were exiting their business. He had little in common with them, and found the journey tedious.

How does your mind-talk talk you into having a bad time?

As it happens, part of the day was actually going to explore the power of “mind-talk” when networking. That little voice in our heads that never quite shuts up.  So, I asked him to verbalise what his mind-talk was saying, and was it being helpful or a hindrance?

Being the bright guy he was, he cottoned on immediately to my line of questioning and where I wanted to take it. He explained to the group that the voice in his head was repeating: “Boring, waste of time, dull, nothing in common. . .” In other words his mind-talk was putting him off what could be a great networking opportunity.  It wouldn’t surprise you that this annual networking event never really delivered on the potential it held for him.

He duly departed after a few hours for his networking event looking much more hopeful. Towards the end of the day, one of the delegates shared an email from him:

“Business development in action!   I changed my attitude and went with a curious and open mindset for the journey to the event. As a result, I’ve agreed three first meetings for members of the team and picked up one new piece of work!”

What can we learn from this?

As my client said, this really was business development in action! Regardless of where or when you network, you have to get the right mindset for meeting people to then build relationships with them.  If, like my client did, you go with fixed assumptions that “I have nothing in common with these boring old farts” then you are going to be right.    In this situation you must turn your mind-chatter around to “I wonder what I can learn from their years of experience?”

For example, if you naturally think this about networking:

 “I will feel awkward, I won’t know anybody there.”

Then change it to something like this:

“A chance to meet lots of interesting new people, many of whom, just like me, will be anxious that they don’t know anybody else.”

A good way to prepare for any kind of networking is to tune in to your mind-talk.  What is it telling you? Is it telling you the right things to make the event a success? If not, how can you turn this around to get into a positive frame of mind?

Author Credit

Heather Townsend is a best selling author and executive coach who helps people make partner in the legal, accounting, and consultancy professions.  She blogs on the How To Make Partner website, where you can read many more articles about generating referrals from your network.

The new edition of the best selling How To Make Partner And Still Have a Life is out in September 2016.  It’s been called ‘an absolute must-read (and potential life saver) for anyone pursuing a professional career.’ 

Buy your copy now and get 20% discount with the code H2MPG20