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EXCLUSIVE: The harder you try to ‘force’ networking the less you will succeed

Interview with Paul Renaud, Certified Executive Coach (ICF), TEDx Speaker.

 

Networking is about helping others first and then being helped in return.

Networking is a ‘state of mind’ and you should always reach out to people regardless of the context.

Overall I’m bullish about companies in Romania leapfrogging technology compared to Western European countries.

The Romanian government has traditionally not encouraged any form of investment, assistance or incentives for small business or entrepreneurs.

To be an entrepreneur you need a lot of energy, you need to accept rejection, you need a network of people that believe in you, you need financing and you need a Mission.

To help with goal reaching, let me share a Brain science concept called Imagery, which I use in my coaching discussions.

 

Networking seems to be a word “en vogue” these days. Everybody is talking about it, everybody is networking. Based on a simple, traditional action of interacting, quite common in the old and modern societies, networking is more than this though…. What makes the difference between networking and simple interacting?

Interacting is exactly that – meeting people with no particular scope or reason. It’s haphazard and random. Networking is different.

Networking has different connotations to different people. Some say networking was responsible for their current success and is due to proactively developing their strategies and activities. Others claim networking put them at the right place at the right time.

Networking is much more than just ‘interacting’ because you welcome a chance to meet new people, you discover things, you learn something new and it’s your chance to give back knowledge and insights.

To network properly I tell people when you are invited to a networking event, try to be cool and try to be ‘Zen’. People sometimes approach networking as a duty or an obligation. On top of that they set overly unrealistic expectations such as: “I have to meet ‘x’ new leads, ‘y’ new clients, a new friend and a new partner. Yes, that can happen but you have to let it happen…’let it go’. The harder you try to ‘force’ networking the less you will succeed.

With a focused approach, anyone can get results. Networking is about helping others first and then being helped in return.

From your experience, how can networking be measured in terms of efficiency in real life, in terms of tangible results?

It’s difficult to quantify results as a by-product of Networking and I don’t recommend it. In fact, I support the idea of giving more of yourself first that is, your time, your contacts, your attention and some of your services because eventually it all comes back to you. It’s good karma.

You network because it’s the right thing to do.

The reason you network is because it gets you connected and helps you identify who can help you now, in a week, a month, a year or way down the line. That might not cross your mind when you make a new contact, but you may find they can help in more ways than you expect.

Finally, Networking is a ‘state of mind’ and you should always reach out to people regardless of the context. Sometimes good things simply cannot be measured.

You’ve been coaching many companies in Romania? How do you find Romanian entrepreneurs, businessmen? What about your experience here?

I’ve been exposed mostly to the Online or Tech industry and it still has tremendous potential. What is hampering business and preventing Romanians from being considered world-class is a lack of support from the government. The Romanian government has traditionally not encouraged any form of investment, assistance or incentives for small business or entrepreneurs and as a result entrepreneurs have gotten used to this.

In the Tech area there’s been no attempt for the government to create a Silicon Valley type of environment or incubators as we’ve seen in Berlin and Israel.

One colleague of mine worked for the government of Georgia (the country) a few years back and he told me that because of reforms, this had catapulted Georgia as one of the friendliest countries to do business with! How come Georgia can do this and we can’t?

I’ll step off my political soap box now.

I’ve met many business people in Romania and I applaud their passion. Lately we’ve got the wind in our sails as Romania’s GDP will grow by at least 5% in 2016 as per some estimates. This is good news!

Overall I’m bullish about companies in Romania leapfrogging technology compared to Western European countries hence why I live here. I believe in Romania. Romanian entrepreneurs need role models and mentors. I try to give back to the business community through fine organizations such as Romanian Business Leaders and I have found this most gratifying.

You are coming to the Beauty of Entrepreneurship conference in Bucharest on November 9th where you are among speakers, maybe you can reveal some ideas that you are to present here…

My presentation will raise the awareness and benefits of networking while learning easy-to-apply tips that will increase the size and power of your network. Sometimes all we need is a little push.

Many of my coaching clients are women in fact so hopefully I can add value to this topic.

Once I’m done with my address, I will facilitate an interview with Maria Andrei, an authority in the Lifestyle and fashion industry. I will be asking about her secrets to success and how networking facilitated her success. It should be fun so stay tuned!

Please define what you believe to be a successful entrepreneurship experience

Whenever I coach my clients and we discuss their dream goals, the idea of them becoming an entrepreneur may come up. That’s when I ask them: “Ok, at what age did you ever dream of becoming an entrepreneur?”

That answer usually tells me how bad they want it.

Most entrepreneurs I know have had this goal for a while, even when they were young.

My brother once told me that ‘being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart’ in other words you need to be comfortable with taking risks. He was right.

It’s tough. You need a lot of energy, you need to accept rejection, you need a network of people that believe in you, you need financing and you need a Mission. These are the characteristics of entrepreneurs.

One thing is for sure: You can learn this stuff. You learn by keeping that inquisitive mind that you had as a child, questioning everything; you accept setbacks along the way and you surround yourself with mentors, coaches, stakeholders that can and will give you sound advice.

Remember too that when you meet new people, you learn, hence my strong belief in Networking. Recently I’ve written a white paper call “What I’ve learned from Steve Jobs” based on the book by Walter Isaacson.

We all get excited when we hear world leaders saying they’ve done ‘this’ or ‘that’. We often think that he or she acted alone and

because of a magical power, vision, special ability or demi-god skill they accomplished the impossible, earning fame and fortune in the process.

Turns out, it’s not possible. If you dig enough you will find that every leader had his fair share of heroes, mentors, spouse, coaches, suppliers, friends, family, advisors and business partners. It cannot be otherwise.

Steve Jobs was no exception to having people that inspired him and helped him along the way. He didn’t do it alone and entrepreneurs cannot do it alone.

Lastly, as far as entrepreneurs are concerned in the end, it’s your attitude that makes the difference.

You are not born with attitude in my opinion – you develop the right frame of mind, a sense of optimism and dedication and the end result is Attitude. This helps you when times are tough as an entrepreneur.

Attitude means never having done something but trying – regardless of the result.

Attitude means helping someone without the need of recognition or praise.

Attitude means coming up with solutions to a problem as opposed to just bringing up problems.

Attitude means never, never giving up.

In pursuing a goal, business-related or not, is it mental ability or external factors (environment, laws, luck, etc) that are crucial to succeed, in your opinion?

I don’t believe in luck; good or bad.

As Earle Nightingale would say: ’Luck is what happens when preparedness meets opportunity, and opportunity is there all the time’.

So is it luck or just being prepared for opportunity?

I believe it comes down to; how bad you want to meet that goal.

Having a goal however implies that you’ve given this some serious attention and not some haphazard whim or quick desire.

It’s common for people NOT to have goals. They wander in life, blaming others and ‘circumstances’ as to why they didn’t get those ‘big breaks’.

To help with goal reaching, let me share a Brain science concept called Imagery, which I use in my coaching discussions. This refined view of Imagery was developed by a leading authority in Neurosciences, Dr. Srini Pillay where he explains that there are important areas in the brain that are affected when Imagery is activated.

Dr. Pillay states that Imagery acts as a precursor to action. Imagery warms up the action brain.

‘By imagining what you want, you stimulate the action centers of the brain. Also, if you observe other examples of this being achieved, it will make it feel more real. It is important for this to feel real and when you do imagine it, try to imagine yourself doing (or thinking in the first person) it so that you are in the picture’.

Another effective way of creating imagery is to think and concentrate by seeing yourself do something (or in this case, thinking in the third person). For example if you were running a race you could see yourself running, hitting the ground and looking at your opponents as you strive for the finish line. Alternately, try looking at yourself in the same race but this time in the 3rd person; in other words observing you in the race as if you are filming yourself from above looking at yourself progress to the point of coming from behind and winning the race.

In both cases (you, in the first person or third person) you are effectively creating a mental image of you, achieving something important.

Reaching a goal boils down to making a decision. Decide on what your goal is and visualize yourself achieving it. Olympic athletes do this and by the way this knowledge has been around for centuries; we’ve only discovered lately that the brain has a lot to do with meeting a goal…not luck.

Lastly, I am convinced that we all have this unique ability and the best way to discover it is by trying it. What’s the worst that could happen?

 

  • Paul J.R. Renaud is a Certified Executive Coach (ICF), specializing in peak performance, Brain-Science & Marketing. Paul’s coaching protocols apply to the C-suite, managers and entrepreneurs. With over 30 years experience, Paul has coached startups and multinationals such as Google, Coca-Cola, UPS, BitDefender, Vodafone, Orange, GE Capital, Toyota, IDC research, Bell Canada, Endava and eMAG while having lived in Asia, South America, North America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Paul coaches with clients worldwide either in person or via video conference.His professional background includes 15 of the past 30 years working at senior levels. Operations experience in Marketing, Sales and Customer Care as well as Strategic Planning. Multilingual capabilities include English, French & Romanian.  Author of ‘A Networking Book’ – now on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iBooks, Senior Lecturer of Marketing, Executive MBA Program,  Maastricht School of Management and TEDx Speaker.



About Alina Grigoras Butu