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.Go out and connect with people.My friend Candy Marrero is in the health insurance business. She is pleasant, fun and very outdoing. Despite these traits Candy says she has trouble meeting people. Cold calling isn’t that much fun, in fact. It can be depressing. With that in mind, Candy decided to start her own networking group. Instead of going out to meet people,  she decided to bring  people to her. Not just one networking group but presently she has at least four. She works hard at it, sends out notices and stays in touch. Her group is called the Professional Networking Group.

I bring this up because it takes a lot of work to bring people together  and even more work if you’re bringing them  regularly.  I’m a member of one of her groups and what makes it different is that the group is all about the quality of the interaction. We have speakers in our group who share information that help the members, and Candy invites  speakers from the community. Paying it forward seems to be Candy’s motto. Giving people what they need is what customer service is all about.  Check out this link to Susan Ward’s blog.

You may not want to start your own networking group, but you might find other ways to bring ‘like’ people together.  Start your own mastermind group or invite a group of people to your house to meet on a monthly basis. Find ways to get to know  people you feel can help you do business.

Around 2009, I found a remarkable slowdown in business. I saw it coming, but I thought it would get better. I had no evidence that it would get better; I just didn’t know how to deal with it. It wasn’t getting better, and I found myself with a dramatic cut in my income. I had to find a way to meet people in my city; a place where I lived but had never done business. I decided to learn about social media, work on a book and find ways to speak to groups. I didn’t care what groups, or if I got paid; I knew people had to experience my product. I also  knew that business would not occur in my living room.  I started to meet people through social media and met people who were experiencing similar problems. We decided to help each other and learning new skills. It was fun and scary at the same time. This experience taught me several things:

Giving doesn’t make you feel depleted; it makes you feel whole. (This is a link to an interesting article on giving.) Why not share what you know? Why not give to those who can use your help. There are people who will care back and those that won’t. You will quickly know if you’ve chosen the right people.

Never go into anything with the idea that what you get will be equal to what you give. You never know what you will get but there are many people who are willing to share.

Know what you do well and do it. If you can get paid for what you do–all the better. If you can’t get paid at least you have the opportunity to ‘practice’ your craft. I didn’t want to get ‘rusty’ so it was important that I develop seminars and find interested people to come. Through this exercise, I met many wonderful people who wanted to help.

People like to help people who are sincere. No one can really understand your situation, but they understand your mission.

Complaining doesn’t help. Some days were harder than others, I tried to keep negative thoughts to myself. The more positive I was, the nicer people I attracted.

Don’t worry about age, education or position.   Some of the most helpful people were much younger than me; despite our age differences, we had lots of things in common.

Know who you are and what makes you happy.It’s important to understand your values and your life’s mission. Know what you have to give and be yourself.

The key is to reach out and look for what you want and need. Looking backwards is a memory and looking to the future   is  a dream.

If you want to move forward the best place to live is in reality where  you can do something each day to impact your future.

Candy is a good role model for all of us.

Lisbeth Calandrino helps businesses  communicate with their customers and build loyal relationships. She can be reached at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com

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