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  • Writer's pictureSimon Zryd

Authentic Networking: Insights from a Lifelong Learner and Business Owner

As I reflect on my journey as a business owner spanning nearly thirteen years, one truth shines clear: fostering genuine connections are crucial to success. In this post, I want to share the principles I've learned and have to admit that I am still very much a student in.

Embracing Authenticity in Connections

While there is no question that, in general, we have exponentially more interactions with people than even just a few decades ago, we also have to admit that the depth and the authenticity of our interactions has suffered quite a bit. But when it comes to building more meaningful relationships, there is no replacement for authenticity. We have to look beyond job titles and LinkedIn profiles, and genuinely connecting with the person behind the professional façade. Over the years, I've found that taking the time to understand someone's journey, their passions, and aspirations sets the foundation for trust and respect, therefore laying the groundwork for enduring relationships that extend far beyond coffee meetings.

Expanding on this principle, I've discovered that authenticity isn't just about being transparent; it's about being vulnerable too. Sharing challenges, triumphs, and even the occasional failure fosters a sense of camaraderie that transcends mere business dealings, forging bonds that endure through both sunny days and stormy weather.

Cultivating Your "Dream Team"

Building a strong network isn't a numbers game—it's about quality over quantity. In my experience, success lies in identifying and nurturing relationships with what I affectionately call my "dream team." These are the individuals whose wisdom, guidance, and support serve as invaluable assets on my personal journey and can be assets to the business owners I work with directly. 

To practicalize this principle, I've made it a habit to keep the most important things I am working on front and center and share it with the people I connect with. I am also keeping a list of the challenges my coaching clients are facing so I can tap into (or expand) my network with purpose. 

Paying It Forward with Help and Support

Again, building relationships isn't just about what you can gain—it's about what you can give back. Throughout my journey, I've witnessed the transformative power of being able to connect two people who can help each other out, from small things like marketing challenges, to exiting a business.

So, whether it's providing a listening ear during times of uncertainty or making introductions that could potentially change someone's career trajectory, acts of generosity create a ripple effect of goodwill that strengthens the fabric of our professional community.

Practical Application

Now, you might be wondering, "How can I apply these principles to my own networking efforts?" Here are a few practical steps to get you started:

  • Audit Your Network: Take stock of your current connections and identify gaps or areas where you'd like to expand.

  • Set Intentions: Define your networking goals and outline the type of relationships you want to cultivate.

  • Engage Authentically: Approach networking with a genuine curiosity about others. Ask meaningful questions, actively listen, and share your own experiences authentically.

  • Be Strategic: Identify key individuals who align with your goals and seek out opportunities to connect with them, whether it's through industry events, online platforms, or mutual connections.

  • Give Back: Look for opportunities to offer help and support to others in your network, whether it's through mentorship, sharing resources, or making introductions.

As you intentionally  build out your network, remember that it's not just about expanding your professional circle—it's about cultivating genuine connections that enrich both your personal and professional life. 

If you're looking to deepen and strengthen your network, I invite you to connect with me

Let's embark on a journey of growth, collaboration, and meaningful connections.

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