True story. I once spent a few days in an isolated beach camp on the Red Sea coast of Egypt. My room was a bamboo hut just a few feet away from the waves of the Red Sea. I was the only visitor there. It was me and the workers. We hung out the whole time. Only one of them spoke English. All we did was enjoy the ocean, (attempt to) talk about life, drink coffee and tea, and arm wrestle. I won some and I lost some.This may seem like a crazy story, but it’s normal for me.
The above picture is explained further down.
Apparently I’m awesome at networking. I didn’t realize this at first and I never thought I was. But as more and more people point it out to me, I think it’s true. I actually think I’m pretty good at networking. I’m an introvert, but I will admit, I make friends very easy. I also have friends all over the world. Yes, I have traveled to many different places, but going somewhere doesn’t mean you automatically build bonds with people there.I was once in Argentina, on a really long bus ride from Mendoza to Buenos Aires. I was sitting next to an old lady. It was December 30. We started talking and she asked me what I was doing for New Year’s Eve. I told her that I had no plans. She invited me over to her son’s house to celebrate. What have I got to lose? I went. It was a family affair, and me. We toasted to champagne and watched the fireworks from their balcony in their Buenos Aires downtown apartment. He was married with a young son, had just gotten out of the military and was transitioning to civilian life. His dad died from a heart attack right after the Argentinian currency crashed. They lost it all. He gave me some books in Spanish that were about the Malvinas (Falklands) war with Great Britain. I read them and still have them. He hated all things British. He loved his family dearly, and longed for the day when he could pay for his mother to fly to Buenos Aires instead of taking the long bus ride. I’ll never forget it. He told me his dad had terrible Psoriasis all over his body and never thought he would get married. When his parents met, his mom fell instantly in love with his dad. Her dad and uncles had Psoriasis, too. She didn’t find it unattractive at all. It’s crazy that I can even remember this conversation. It took place more than 10 years ago.As I think about it. I can easily think of three rules to follow that will instantly make you a better networker.
1. Conquer fear
2. Give something
3. Keep in touch
Social media makes this easier than ever. There’s no excuse for not keeping in touch. I was in Phoenix last year and then I remembered that I know someone who works for a large missions organization there. Actually, I had never really met them in person, just via email by way of a missionary. I contacted him and he graciously gave me a tour of the organization. We hung out, spoke about ministry, and talked life in the particular part of the world where he focuses his ministry on. It was great, we still keep in touch.