Networking Ninja Strategy 101 – Respect

Well this is a funny one isn’t it… The word in isolation can be used in some many different ways, in fact the dictionary notes 14 explanations and uses for the word respect.

But in the context of what I’m talking about, it’s really… Being respectful. As I’m sure you would assume anyway when reading the title.


Interestingly, I had an instance earlier this month that prompted me to write this…

The story starts at a breakfast meeting on a Wednesday morning, where I was attending as a guest of a former colleague. I was familiar with the format of the group in question which was a chapter of the world’s largest networking organisation.

Now before I continue, I must say that on the whole it was a very well put together event and I should also mention that I’m an advocate of the structured format to which they adhere.

However, during the informal part of the meeting, I found myself perplexed with some of the actions of the persons in attendance, which, at one point… did venture on the verge of being disrespectful. The thing is, with structure comes systems & process’ – understandably so. Unfortunately, when you apply systems and process to human interaction it seems the brain can end up becoming task orientated and forget what it is to actually be a human!

Dont be that guy

OK so what happened…

I found myself engaged in conversation with a gentleman that deals in the property industry with whom I’d found a synergy and a reason to discuss further our respective business’. About 5 minutes into our conversation I’m approached by a gentleman I had already been introduced to who – without any rhyme or reason says…. “Have you met so and so…”

Now, I totally appreciate that this is our raison d’etre when it comes to networking… But… Taking ourselves out of the “Networking” Environment – would you really walk up too little less than a stranger and thrust upon them another stranger…? I would suggest not.

And herein lies the learning, by all means I would encourage each of you to be accepting and considerate of all the various structured formats that exist in the modern world of networking, but maintaining respect for one another as human beings, and ensuring that is the overriding thought, and not that of systems and process is the key to becoming a Network Ninja.


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Ninja Strategy 101 – Integrity

Now – the dictionary would have you believe that the word integrity means;




1.the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.

“a gentleman of complete integrity”

Which in itself is pretty self-explanatory, however, I find that the Networking circuits with which we frequent are riddled with conversation that is absolutely lacking any sort of integrity.

Let’s break down the definition into two parts. Starting first with “the quality of being honest”


How many times have you hear this question;

“So what are you looking for…?” or “Why are you here…?”

And equally, how many times do you hear something like “to expand my network” or “to meet new people”

Well I am sorry but – what a load of f***ing *Ahem* non-sense!!

Now – let’s apply our ninja strategy to the same question – HONESTLY why are you here… chances are there 3 possible reasons;

  • You want MORE BUSINESS
  • Someone has invited you and you want MORE BUSINESS
  • You’re not sure how to get MORE BUSINESS and someone told you networking was a good idea

Can we see the common thread here…?

There are of course exceptions to any rule – but generally speaking you can assume this to be true.

So, if you want to be a Network Ninja act with integrity and tell people why you’re really in the room. Of course, this statement does come with a caveat DO NOT SELL TO THE ROOM!

No Selling

I’ve seen it a million times and it’s a function of modern culture more than anything…. The whole SELL SELL SELL approach, it’s baffling really. And here is where we discuss the second part of the definition “having strong moral principles”

Getting down to the nitty gritty – and it’s something I say a lot… Just act like a decent human! I can’t think of a single time in my life when I’ve heard someone at a networking event say – I’m here to be sold too…

And if we’re acting like humans rather than robots on a mission to sell to the world… Surely there is a thousand times more value in NOT Selling. For instance, I ask you this;

  • If you met someone in a bar how would you speak to them?
  • If you bump into someone in the street how would you speak to them?

It really is pretty simple and straight forward; be yourself, don’t compromise your INTEGRITY and be the best HUMAN you can be.

The result will be measurable in better conversation, better relationships and MORE BUSINESS – Which, you may recall, is why we all do this any way!

#1 Network Ninja – for personal networking coaching or if you would like a networking partner for your business email

What is a Network Ninja??

business ninja

It’s a question I’ve been asked a couple of times recently, so I thought best to elaborate on what I believe a Network Ninja to be… In the context of networking, the “ninja” element refers to our behavior…. Needless to say it’s a funny saying I suppose, and let’s be honest… It’s got nothing to do with nun-chucks and samurai swords…

But it does have something to do with the samurai, or at least the Virtues to which they subscribe.

Samurai Code

Not to dissimilar to the European code of Chivalry which seems almost entirely lost in the modern world, we believe that the above virtues should be taken with you into each networking event. If only to keep us acting human…

Stay tuned for more networking insight and wisdom!

Sales & Selling – Are you a salesman or a solutions man?

I’ve been doing some personal development recently, and reflecting on certain aspects of life, work and whatnot. And I seemed to spend an extended period thinking about “Being a Salesman”

I thought back to a conversation I had with my father when I was a boy. I asked him something to the effect “Dad, how do you be good at selling things…” A typical response might be something like “Hard work and dedication” or “knowledge is power, know your product and it’ll sell itself”.

But no, what I got was, “It’s easy really, figure out what people want and need… then find a way to give it to them” (Solutions Not Sales…)

Now, I’m sure there’s a little more to it, but the principal is pretty bang on if you ask me.

More than once throughout the course of my professional life it has been contradicted and I have to say I’ve often been guided towards the more typical responses but there’s no arguing with the fact that “selling” yourself (because people buy people right?) doesn’t actually involve any selling at all.

The key, I believe, to exciting a room/audience or individual is based around some simple attributes;

  1. Story telling

  2. Listening

  3. Enthusiasm

  4. Excitement

Exploring each of these in more detail:

Story Telling

Do you remember the last ‘Hard facts’ presentation you went to, maybe a finance meeting or something similar? No!? Well believe it or not that really isn’t surprising…

How about the last great piece of fiction you read.. or movie? A little easier right!

A recent study conducted by an American colleague showed that when a ‘presenter’ delivered his message by telling a story, the audience’s brain function actually mirrored that of the presenter, which increased retention of the message to as much as 80%.

This concept ties in with selling yourself because, in reality, the audience were actually having an emotional response to the story they were hearing (think about movies that make you cry..) if when telling a story to a group of people that you wish to ‘GET ON BOARD’ you allow them to make an emotional connection with what you say, you will find that not only will they warm to you sooner, but they will be more likely to remember you.


Technically this should come before story telling because in human interaction it actually comes first but, for whatever reason this feels better placed here in text….

OK so I wonder what Listening has to do with selling yourself? Simply, people love talking about themselves and if you can consciously listen (and there is a big difference between listening and ‘nodding along’) to the person you are trying to sell yourself to that is half the battle won. Now, here’s the simple second part; once you have digested the information they have given you, relate it to one of your own personal experiences and then deliver it as a story, they will more often than not relate to you on a much more intimate level and thus open up to being more trusting. This, I would suggest, is the key indication of whether or not you have ‘sold yourself’, whether the person in question would say “Yeah, I trust him” or words to that effect.

Enthusiasm & Excitement

I have elected to discuss the above points together as, essentially, they are the same… although in my own mind I would relate enthusiasm to tone of voice, mannerisms etc. whereas excitement is demonstrated almost exclusively by the eyes and face.

The main point to remember is not to appear false, fake or like your response is forced. And why do we do it… generally, throughout history, human beings have always sought entertainment. The jester in the kings court, the gladiators in Rome, theatre , ballet, fighting, football, for as long as history is documented ‘entertainment’ in whatever form it takes is noted.

Be entertaining… even a slightly over exaggerated hand gesture will draw the eye of the person you are speaking to and capture their attention, even if only for a split second but…here’s the thing… you captured their attention when you could have been losing it!


It is apparent, in the modern world, that when emphasis is placed on ‘winning people over,’ ‘making a good impression’ and/or ‘selling yourself’ that there is a great deal of stress/pressure attached to the actions of doing so.

The 4 above noted actions, are small things in my opinion. Basically, the absolute must-have qualities of any great salesperson are honesty and integrity. Simple!

So, be yourself, be real, don’t try and makepeople buy into you… but rather, just letthem.