Community, what does it mean in building a business? Wholistic practice and mindset sounds bizarre and out of context when talking about branding for a startup. I get it! Hippies come to mind or that strange yoga teacher that talks about kale, but what it has done for my clients and my own process is un questionably profound - no I don't mean an inspirational quote - memes or kale - I am talking about mindset techniques.
On a recent trip to Sydney along side my client Carmen Holder's journey as a crew member for the Tony Robbins Workshops, Some incredible connections began to manifest. She took her story and her identity collateral and without direct action, just simple positive attitude - she found like minded individuals that like her, sought to generate a brand - more than just a business.
Its amazing how well you can connect to someone with a simple conversation. So long as you are open and honest - real and true, the conversation will double in depth and value. We often have these types of conversations socially and don't do it so much when we are talking business.
Depth and value.
One thing is for sure, the social aspect, the real aspect is absolutely the best way to communicate, why? Because its from the heart. We implement emotional story lines into our advertising all the time. The emotional depth of a product or better yet a brand is what determines its likability and loyalty from budding customers and clients.
If its so obvious why is it we are not seeing the same emotional integrity instilled in our business attitudes. This is what makes entrepreneurs the business people of the future, of the now. As an entrepreneur you are your brand not one singular company with one single objective. You - as a result are driven to bare your truth on your sleeve.
No holds bared you share your quirks out in the sun. Thats that charisma and drive that gives us that sense of inspirational aspects, of a leader! Verses a person who simply focuses on numbers and the sales without passion. The best relationships both personally and business wise are those that are born of organic conversation and genuine connection.
Most people don't go crazy over the Iphone because of its technical features. They are hungry for it because of what it represents. They go nuts...because of the FEELING - what it will say about them!
The reasoning behind organic conversation and unintentional networking bares its foundations on one key detail. Sometimes you don't know what you could create until the canvas 'speaks' to you. The test I would suggest would be to leave the business cards and flyers at home for a little experiment. Go out everyday with the intention of connecting to all you hold conversation with, for the joy of discovery and genuine intrigue.
- Treat every conversation as a chance to co-create.
- Leave the business garb where it belongs...in boring board-rooms with lifeless powerpoint presentations.
- Get to know people and avoid the 'so what do you do?' question, why is always more interesting.
- Go deeper than hows the weather, honestly no one cares for small talk.
- In saying that, this means you must be open, truthful, your weird self.
- The best impression you can leave is not with a business card its with your personality, so dress how you want to project. (if suits make you feel boring, you will act boring).
When the intention is natural, the conversations you have will expand and details usually lost due to awkward attempts at networking is subsided why? Because when we carry business as our intention we lose the soul. People will easily connect to a person before they connect to a brand. Its why customer service is and should be, a priority focus for successful business (eg. Apple's Genius's). Your brand should go further than just what identity perception you guide your product and service decisions by. It should fold into your service design and strategies and your own personal F2F interactions with everyday people. If it can't you maybe not be living genuinely and that is personal life, brand and business death.
Some will be affronted by your open and bold truth, they may even walk away. Others however will flock to you, they will see truth and confidence and immediately see the power in your stride. The question to ask is 'if you are pretending to be what you THINK others want to deal with, will YOUR vision be equally sated?' ten out of ten times it wont guaranteed. Have you noticed the people you really want to work with often are unapologetically themselves? They radiate the type of person they are in order to attract likeminded co creators.
We see this repeatedly expressed by successful business people. In a recent interview between Dan Schawbel, a contributor to Forbes and Richard Branson, a question was asked regarding the value of face to face interactions, where Richard details just how vital these interactions are and have been in recent major business negotiations as well as an article by Lianne Taylor a Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship and International Business, Anglia Ruskin University on The Conversation last year where in step one of getting the entrepreneurial spirit in your life she mentions depth and Empathy as the first step to building that clearly valuable mindset.
Its not scary when you mean it. So throw away those intimidated thoughts that tell you things like 'what will make them like me' and ask instead why do you like them.
You are the people you hang-around the most.
The age old saying we often loose track of during the 'Networkers Mindset' as we often attempt to please everybody or we attempt to please someone by modifying our position during conversation. An example I have to share is how I found my target market or my 'Ideal Client'. As I reviewed my positioning and my truth through a workshop from the Cutaway that details elevating designers into next level creatives, I noted a point I had subconsciously sidestepped previously.
A part of my self actualisation, was to synchronise my health and let wellbeing drive my decisions over all. This meant I developed a love for "food as medicine" and holistic health practices, I attracted people and experiences of that world and began to see a pattern.
My decisions and my actions are lead by my wellbeing and it is intertwined into my emotional perception of my method and process. I had segmented my passions rather than noting or expressing the tethers that unite these integral expressions. Essentially what I noticed was a direction, a particular type of client based on my immediate world. I had and still do have, connections to people practicing wellbeing as their mission in this arena, simply because like attracts like - more importantly because we have the same mission, to empower others.
It was like I turned on a light. What if the struggle of networking is purely perception based. Meaning the difficulty to build a network is pre-determined by your level of focus on the struggle of it. Its fare to say most of us look at this situations like its a hard battle, if we have yet to experience it as easy. Obviously, right?! Here is the trick I observed watching a hero of mine in action, ever heard the saying fake it till you make it - I think a step further notion of start with how you feel is stronger standpoint...
He walked into the room, wondered across to the first group of people in the room and began to open a discussion. He was confident, well dressed, clear but most of all not a single word of what he 'did' passed his lips. He focussed on asking open ended questions, encouraging the group of people in their choice of responses and not a single business card exchanged hand.
His mission was not to sell, it was to empower them, because he believed that he had the best solution and empowerment of his audience was enough to lead them in the right direction. When I puckered up the courage to ask him his appraoch he simply replied with a smile and said ' first impressions are not everything, they are vital but not everything, the rest is really about trusting yourself. If you believe you can you will.
The moment you start becoming distracted by opinions and stress you lose focus and so to the people in the room you become blurry'. He wasn't arrogant, he was strong. It was the first time I had a clear experience that allowed me to see that what people like in conversation is to be heard and empowered to speak. discussion is what opens windows. You have to see that a leader doesn't control he activates and trusts.
So what about some science to prove it?...
To be continued...