Wednesday, 13 April 2011

The power of networking?

Networking - whether business breakfasts, lunches or simple gatherings of people - is an essential part of modern business. I regularly attend a business breakfast club in Salisbury and meet people from many different backgrounds and businesses. Originally nervous at such events, I've found the trick is to concentrate on asking about everyone else's business and let the conversation gradually come round to what I do. When it does, people around the table join in - because relationships are fascinating for most of us, on all sorts of levels.  

Last week I mentioned the steep learning curve I've been facing as we've launched our marketing onto various social networking platforms. (Notice I've already got some of the jargon!) One of my networking buddies had a great story to tell about the impact of Facebook on his relationship - something for us all to be wary about.

He used his Facebook account for keeping in touch with his friends and family. With the recent explosion of marketing on Facebook he decided to take a more professional look around the social networking site. Logging on, he realised his status was still set at 'Single', even though he had been 'In a Relationship' for a while. So he clicked on the relevant settings and low and behold his Facebook account reflected his personal status. Logging in again later he was disappointed to find the ads were now much more predicatable and boring - linked of course to his updated personal profile. I'm not about to find out what he was missing - let's just say he was fed up with the frequent suggestions he should cruise with Saga. So he changed his status back to single.

At this point his tale takes on the aspects of a farce as one after another of his 'Friends' jumped to conclusions about why he was no longer 'In a Relationship' with his partner. They called her, texted her and facebooked her to find out what had happened and was she alright? She returned home from work, anxious and upset, to challenge her unsuspecting partner. Of course it didn't take them long to put things right and have a laugh about how they'd got into such a pickle.

For me this tale struck a chord as many of the couples Nigel and I see in our coaching practice have become very adept at jumping to conclusions.
It's said:  'Nature abhors a vacuum'. I like to borrow that phrase and say that in relationships it seems 'Our minds abhor a lack of information' because as humans, we show a remarkable tendency to fill any supposed gaps with all sorts of bizarre explanations. Thankfully we have a number of techniques to help people if they get stuck in a rut of continuous mis-communication.

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