I was treated to a masterclass in networking on my way home from Toronto. I’ve read books and listened to world class speakers and experts on networking but learnt more in an hour of seeing a master at work in Terminal 5 at Heathrow airport. Surprisingly for a modern, international, state of the art airport the facilities to charge laptops and mobile devices are woeful. Nevertheless I found a charging station and sat down to take my turn to give my iPhone a boost, only 3 sockets and two USB slots that were not working.
As I sat waiting, I noticed a tall gentleman engaging in conversation with someone to my right. He would get up to check the progress of charge on his mobile device and when he saw others trying to use the USB slots he gently informed them that they didn’t work. He would then offer them a chance to boost their device batteries by letting them use his adapter. During this hour or so he had engaged many people in conversation, learned something about them, made a note of their email addresses or exchanged business cards.
I was one of those people with whom he had struck up a conversation. He wanted to know which book I was reading and then after a very short period of time we knew a lot about one another and both felt enriched from having had the conversation. I reflected on what I’d observed and experienced during that hour and note the following.
- He took the initiative in starting the conversation.
- He took a genuine interest in the people he engaged.
- He made the most of an opportunity to help others.
- He asked for contact details to keep in touch.
- He had a notebook at hand to record those details.
By the time I left that charging station I was helping people charge their phones by letting them use my adapter, I was engaging with people who I would not otherwise have engaged. During the final conversation I had with Ramesh, another lady and a movie maker, we realised that in that small group of people
- we knew someone who knew Einstein
- one of us would be attending a party hosted by Michael Jordan
- one of us knew the hero of another and
- one of us had had a conversation with someone whose friend had dated the founder of Google!
All because of Ramesh a master of networking at work. Watching Ramesh at work was an eyeopener and an encounter that I learnt so much from. Thanks Ramesh
This post first appeared on www.i-planning.co.uk