A friend was lamenting that his son who had moved to Salem on a job transfer was unable to get decent accommodation. He asked me if I could help. I said, ‘no problem’.
I went through my contact book and located the name of an ex- Round Tabler based in that city and posed the problem to him. I had known this Tabler friend very well during my active days in Tabling but had been out of touch for over two decades.
He was delighted to hear my voice and we connected instantly from where we had left off. After exchanging the usual pleasantries, he said he would get back to me in a day. Surprisingly he reverted within a couple of hours giving me the contact number of a leading real estate man in Salem who was well known to him.
I passed on the message to my friend hoping it would be of some help to him. Within the next two days my friend called to tell me that, thanks to my contact, his son had found an accommodation, in a central locality for a reasonable rent. He thanked me profusely.
On many occasions, I have been able to help desperate parents get admission for their children in good schools using a friend’s clout in that school.
On other occasions, I have helped youngsters get jobs through my contacts or helped others with any problem they have approached me for.
During the last four decades of my professional career, I have never said `No’ to anyone seeking any form of help from me, owing largely to a huge network of friends I have developed because of my involvement in several voluntary organisations. All that is required is a telephone call from me to a friend and 80% of the time, my networking has benefited someone.
‘Networking’ is two-way traffic. Just as you seek help from others, you must also help others when they seek your help. It calls for continuous investment of time and effort on our part in cultivating people. Becoming a member of a voluntary organization or professional body certainly helps. However, you have to work hard to prove your sincerity and dedication to the organization so that people notice you and you slowly become a part of the network. I have experienced this phenomenon in my own life.
I had a problem of moving up the ladder early in my advertising career because of my lack of social contacts, as I came from a lower middle class family. On the recommendation of a friend I joined the Round Table, a voluntary association of young men with service & fellowship as its prime objectives. Round Table opened up a whole new world to me. For the next fourteen years I was deeply involved in that wonderful association, making new friends across the country and contributing my might to several avenues of service of the association. Round Table India even thought it fit to confer the Distinguished Service Award on me. During my membership with the association I had not approached any one for business. However, when I was at the cross roads in life, ex-Tablers helped me start and sustain my new advertising agency; with business, finance and other needs too; that is something I can never forget in my life. Thirty years after leaving that association (due to age limit), I find that even today, I can count on an ex-Tabler for any help I may need.
Many people join voluntary organizations with the sole motive of furthering their business interests. Many of them have personal agendas. They think that just by becoming a member of an organization, they will automatically have people waiting to use their services. I remember a lady Rotarian, who was heading a travel agency; join my Rotary Club thinking that all the frequent travelers in the club will shift their loyalties to her. When nothing happened, she felt disappointed and left the club within a year of joining.
Networking can help people in many ways. But it has to be based on sincere friendship to be effective!
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