I definitely agree with my blogging colleague, Lisa Haneberg that Keith Ferrazzi rocked yesterday at the Microsoft Small Business Summit. His book was wonderful, but Keith live and in person was ten times that.
The Summit was very good – I am pleased that Microsoft spared no expense yesterday for locals like us to be able to participate in the beginning of their four day event. My parting gift bag reminded me of my corporate days when vendors would lavish us with t-shirts and other mementos. The real opportunity, though, was identifying and connecting to other interesting entrepreneurs in the room. It appeared to me that many folks did just that. Others were wallflowers, and they missed out on a great way to build an alliance network or even just help out someone else.
Real Life Lessons at the Summit:
Thinking about a situation yesterday: I had just met a very interesting person who does small business consulting. He and I were discussing a number of things. All of a sudden, a woman I know who is a business coach walked up and interrupted us – boldly and without any interest in the fact that I was already engaged in iconversation. At this point, one has several options. It was very disruptive, and on one level I really wanted to bring that to her attention – but in the bigger picture, it really didn’t matter to me. What I had noticed, though, was my new contact had backed off while this woman was now engaging me in conversation. Here’s what I did:
I believe in the idea that people are doing the best that they can at any given moment. She was excited. With that in mind, I rolled with it and rather than feeling uncomfortable for another second, I brought this interrupter into my original conversation – introduced the two, and even gave examples to my new acquaintance on the qualities I know this woman possesses (especially since I don’t believe she had made her best impression) and any commonalities I noticed about the two. Immediately they exchanged cards and had a pleasant interaction.
This exchange exemplifies what I know for sure – that it is not about me, but it is about helping others and building a peer community. It’s the same sense I got out of Keith Ferrazzi’s book (this happened prior to Keith’s moving talk), and it is part of the methodology I use with clients. It’s the BNI model of Givers Gain. It’s also not about pointing out what you think iis wrong, but rather in looking at the whole picture – and focusing on what is really important.
You can hear the Microsoft Small Biz Summit webcasts at your convenience – be sure to check out at least a few.http://www.microsoft.com/smallbusiness/small-business-summit/hub.mspx