How many of the right people do you connect with in your networking efforts? When you throw your networking rock into the waters of business, do you make a lot of ripples?
I recently attended my first 8 Minute Ripple here in Austin. It sounded weird and intriguing, and I had little idea what I was getting myself into, so, why not?
I arrived at the meeting place and was greeted by Steve Harper, the master Rippler. Steve is a warm and outgoing host, perhaps something of an achievement for the self-proclaimed introvert. He’s also immediately likable.
Steve welcomed me to their group and within minutes I felt at home. He gave a few words of introduction to the group and then showed a wonderful video from Soul Pancake. It’s a moving illustration of the power of expressing gratitude. You’ll love it!
The next activity in the meeting was to answer the following questions:
What professional relationship has helped you become who you are today?
- How would you describe this person to someone else?
- What do you know about them personally?
- Who among your network should know them?
- Sum up what they have meant to you. Write it as if you were going to read it to them.
What personal relationship has helped you become who you are today?
- Write three words that you would use to describe this person?
- Write why this person means more to you than most.
- Write what they’ve meant to you, and write it as if you were going to read it to them.
Take a few minutes to answer these questions. If the person is still living, contact them and tell them what they’ve meant to you. If the person is not living, read your answers out loud as a prayer of gratitude to that person.
When we were done with the activity, we were set up to Ripple.
There are only a couple of rules to Rippling: when you speak with a fellow Rippler during the session, you’re not allowed to talk about business and you’re not allowed to exchange business cards. It seemed kind of contrary to the concept of a business networking group, but I decided to play along.
At the sound of the bell, Steve cut us loose to do our one-on-one networking. At the next bell, we found a new partner and continued the conversation. And so it went until we had spoken to five people about anything but business. In other words, we got to know a bit first instead of simply throwing our business cards at each other.
When the Ripple was done, we were allowed to exchange business cards with the people we wanted to contact after the meeting.
In twenty minutes, I made more useful and meaningful business contacts than I could have at several old-school networking events. I discovered something about them as people. I had a chance to see if I felt comfortable with them. And it was a fun process since it was lighthearted and personable, not a mission just to try to score business opportunities.
Business is about relationships, but you don’t have time to waste collecting a lot of useless business cards of people you will never speak with again. Rippling is a great way to identify opportunities and build relationships.
Check out Steve Harper’s book, The Ripple Effect: Maximizing the Power of Relationships for Life & Business, on Amazon.