Derek Dickow has been a very popular executive coach for over 12 years. Elected officials, corporate executives, and non-profit leaders all seem to seek out and benefit from his business acumen. When the pandemic hit, he recognized the need and opportunity to tweak and formalize the service to ensure business could continue even if it wasn’t as normal.
“People were struggling to figure out what to do, how to do it, and how to continue to serve a market that has changed so much,” Dikou told me in an interview.
His approach applies not only to business, but also to our daily lives and lives.
We’ve all been asked for something, personally or professionally, by people we don’t know or haven’t heard from in a while. Many people try to withdraw from relationships that are not contributing.
“In life, people tell us both how to do things and how not to do them,” Dikou says.
According to him, networking is the process of building, nurturing and deepening relationships. Many people think of networking as simply putting on nametags and handing out cards, but it’s more than that.
Here is his definition of networking: He cites “payback” as a hymn to networking.
Networks are of enormous value, he added. One way to measure the value of a business person is by looking at their network.
“Your first contact may not have the answer, but they may know someone who does,” Dikou says. The number of issues will increase.”
Our connectivity and ability to contribute and benefit from our connections, whether in business or as a community at large, is critical to our collective success and sustainability.
“We teach and encourage not just collecting dots, but connecting them,” he says.
But sincerity is important. If you are proactive, your network will reflect your lack of integrity.Dickow emphasizes that you must be sincere, present, and listen and respond. “Too often people come to events and talk to you, but then look over your shoulder to see who they can talk to next,” he says.
Dickow suggests ditching the typical introductory questions. These questions give empty or ready-made answers and tell little about the person. Instead, he suggests asking, “What made you come here today?” What’s new and exciting in your world?” and “How can I help?”
Because networking is about giving.
“We’re all pulling from the same vault,” Dikou says. “We have to contribute too.”
A foundation of good business networking is also valuable to our community and society.
“Networking improves ourselves, our families and our communities because it is a platform for solving problems,” Dikou says.
To do that, we need to connect, provide as much as we expect, and stay in touch.
But simply staying in touch isn’t enough, says Dickow. Spam does not tell your contacts that you care about them. Communication should be purposeful. “
Successful networkers are those who find ways to brighten their day and educate them. They give without expecting anything in return.
After that, gratitude should always be part of the equation. Some form of expression of appreciation — a note, text, card, or gift — is what Dickow puts it, “separates the good from the great.” He is also one of the pillars of Purpose Driven Networking.
Humans are social animals, even as the pandemic accelerates division. Dickow believes that people want to talk, want to be heard, and want to connect.
“The tools and strategies we use today may be different, but the intentions and desires are the same. If you are sincere and genuine with your message, others will respond.”
Successful networkers don’t keep stacks of business cards on their desks. Instead, I have a series of ongoing conversations with colleagues and friends. More importantly, truly successful network creators care as much about the success of others as they do about their own.
This is the blueprint for our personal and collective success.
Karen Dumas is a columnist for The Detroit News and co-host of “The No BS News Hour.” Her column is published on Tuesday.