Understanding The Art Of Relationship Brokering

Understanding The Art Of Relationship Brokering

Understanding The Art Of Relationship Brokering

 

By Carol Weaving

Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are the fulcrum of our economic engine; not only in South African but across the African continent. In South Africa, they provide employment to about 60% of our labour force and they plug-in various gaps in a number of industry value chains, facilitating the effective running of said industries.

 

Equally important, SMEs are, as South African Reserve Bank Deputy Governor, Francois Groepe asserts, “an essential conduit whereby millions of people enter the economic and social mainstream of a society.”

 

Through small businesses, the everyman has relatively unfettered access to an otherwise cryptic and many a time, exclusive realm. At a time when our economy needs us all to pull and push together, they present an effective pathway to economic inclusion.

With this in mind, supporting small businesses could not be more urgent. In South Africa, SMEs make up 91% of formalised businesses and are responsible for 34% of our GDP. These are huge numbers that can be bigger the more support there is for SMEs.

 

We need platforms that facilitate entrepreneurship and small business growth, like the Small Business Expo which is the evolution of 20 years of Thebe Reed Exhibitions’ dedication to entrepreneurship.

 

The exhibition, focuses on facilitating relationship brokering between small business owners, entrepreneurs, investors, franchisors, corporate leaders and business hubs and incubators. Through effective relationship brokering, small business owners connect and support each other, and grow their establishments.

 

1. Know your own story, and know it well

Sharing your story – whether it’s your business proposition, your skill set or a project you are working on – is a determinant of successful relationship brokering. You have to know your story, and know it well enough to share it in a compelling manner. Your story is part of the collateral you leave any prospective business connections.

 

2. Relationship brokering builds social capital

Your own and the social capital of those around you. It’s a process that, when done right, builds your influence and profiles your authority. Not only do you get a chance for people to know you, but also for people to get to know what you do and the pedigree you possess as a business owner, entrepreneur or professional. You position yourself, on an uninterrupted stage that is formal yet relaxed and personal.

 

3. Relationship brokering is about building sustainable communities of people and businesses that complement each other

It’s about fostering collaboration where synergies exist and enabling connections where business opportunities exist. Beyond that, a successfully built community becomes the support structure to members of its network.

 

4. Build and maintain bridges

Don’t put yourself first. Pay attention to your business associates and connections. Ascertain their needs and assist them in addressing those needs. During that process, you profile your own skill set and showcase what you and your business can do. This is important as relationship brokering is only self-serving to a point. If it becomes a one-way street, connections crumble because no one wants to be involved in a one-way relationship.

 

5. Relationship brokering facilitates sharing

Relationships are about mutual value and this mutual value is not only monetary but also about shared objectives, visions and ambitions. This connection must allow parties to draw value strategically for the outcome of a business endeavour or opportunity. The shared value can include knowledge, skills transference or specialist experience – whatever the attribute, achieving mutual value is the objective of the relationship.

 

6. Quality trumps quantity

Relationship brokering is not a business card collection contest after all. Focus on those businesses and personalities who are stakeholders in your industry’s value chain. Always remember that one quality business relationship surpasses a rolodex of business cards who have no link to your work or industry.

 

7. Do follow up. Do reach out

Many of us do more than enough sharing of contact details but not enough following up and reaching out. Follow up to legitimise the connection and start building a relationship.

Build Strong Relationships With Active Participation

Build Strong Relationships With Active Participation

By Patrick Smyth

After a long flight to Tokyo Japan, the sight of two thousand people in the audience for keynote speech at the technology conference was impressive. The presentation moved along slowly as frequent pauses enabled the interpreter to convert the original English spoken and written on the slides into Japanese. After twenty minutes or so, it appeared that two thousand heads were resting on their shoulders as the entire audience had fallen asleep. The interpreter insisted they were listening and not sleeping, so please to continue. After all the effort and time to prepare and travel halfway around the world only to meet a sleeping audience, the last thirty minutes of the talk were sheer drudgery.

How you participate in meetings has a direct effect on the motivation and level of engagement by other people in the meeting. Technology has become an excuse to continue whatever you were doing outside of the meeting, while the meeting is in progress. A prospective customer does not want to stare at the back of your laptop screen and watch you type away while they are attempting to build a relationship with you. You can try to justify this laptop behavior by suggesting that you rely on the laptop to take notes during the meeting. The problem is your notes do not impress the people on the other side of the table.

Smart phones are equally offensive. Yes, you hold the phone below the table and cast your eyes downward to read it. Somehow, you believe the other people in the room don’t notice that you are busy tapping away at the small screen in front of you and not engaging in a conversation with them. All they see is someone who appears to be focusing on something other than the most important people and conversation in the room. Your behavior suggests to them that whatever is going on in front of you is far more important than they are. Clearly, that’s a serious mistake.

The first good step to active participation is assuring that you remove distractions, such as those from laptops and smart phones, from the conversation. Of course, active participation reaches far beyond simply removing distractions. Focus your attention on the other party or parties in the meeting. Ask insightful questions to demonstrate your interest in them and their business needs. Acknowledge the key points they are making to encourage them to continue sharing. Ask for clarification if they say anything that might seem slightly ambiguous or unclear. If you are delivering a presentation in a meeting, make sure the audience is following along and getting the key points you are communicating.

Avoid talking incessantly to show how much you know. All that does is confirm that you are not listening and that your focus is on yourself. Launching into an endless scripted speech without engaging the audience with questions and clarifications will certainly turn them off. Watch their body language for signs that they are reacting to what you are saying and use those as cues to expound further or ask questions. The more you demonstrate your care about their success, the more they will learn to respect and trust you. Active participation builds trust, which in turn builds solid relationships.

 

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Patrick_Smyth/33422

INSPIRE – A Power Word for Every Day

INSPIRE – A Power Word for Every Day

Inspire-Power-Word

Inspire

In 2011 this word came crashing into my life as being central to everything I am about. I had the privilege of meeting Thomas Power from the UK, in person, in Sydney. Thomas spent an hour with me taking me through a guided session that resulted in bringing everything that drives me down to two words.

Those 2 words were: Inspiring Solutions.

Thomas’ instructions to me were to treat those two words as key to everything I do and I started from that moment on to build my personal brand around ‘Inspiring Solutions’.  A few months later I set up my first LinkedIn profile and used my new ‘core words’ to create the following statement:

 

“Passionate, energetic and dynamic, I am all about inspiring solutions through international business development and helping others network and connect effectively.”

 

From 2011 and even more so today, ‘Inspiring Solutions’ is my benchmark for everything I share on-line, everything I tweet about, like, re-share, post, comment on and for offline face to face networking conversations, discussions, topics I will talk about and even people I choose to associate with. If it is aligned with inspiring solutions, I am there. If it is not then I politely choose to exit or change the subject and I like to think I honestly manage this most of the time.

 

The simple word ‘inspire’ and all its variations, inspiring, inspiration, inspirational, have taught be more about life, about attitudes towards business and pleasure, about people, about positive change that focus on 2 key words brings, than I ever would have thought possible.

My favourite definition of the verb to inspire is

To fill with an animating, quickening or exalting influence; to fill with enlivening or exalting emotion

 

I have discovered the power of choosing to become inspiring and have been on a mission for the last couple of years to inspire others to choose the same. This personal purpose statement that I created at a workshop led by Jan Haldane is a powerful reminder: ‘My purpose is to express my passion, energy and drive to inspire, connect and build engaging networks with people and businesses.

 

I could write all day about this amazing little word inspire but I will choose to finish off with some of a key note that I wrote and delivered as part of a Corporate Series led by Cam Calkoen in 2014:

“Inspiring people are attractive. They ooze something which the rest of us want – they feed us, challenge us, and energise us. We want to follow them, know them, and be associated with them.

In choosing to become inspiring, you will choose to become one of those people who others gravitate towards. They will share your posts, like your blogs and updates, will connect with you, follow you, meet face to face with you, attend events you are at, introduce you to others and look to build some kind of relationship with you.

So inspire those around you and find others who inspire YOU. Build your network around these 2 points and you will have loyal connections who will bring others who they think would be inspired by or resonate with you AND you will be doing the same for those connections who inspire you.

It’s all about GIVE and TAKE. Giving comes first.”

 

Jayne Albiston
Director
Business over Breakfast (BoB) Clubs Australia & New Zealand

FOCUS – A Power Word for Every Day

FOCUS – A Power Word for Every Day

Focus-Power-Word

 

In April 2008, I bought a book at the airport as I was boarding a long haul flight. It was entitled, ‘The Power of Focus’ by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Les Hewitt. I read it cover to cover on the plane, not realizing how much it was literally going to change my outlook on both my business and personal life.
I learned that,“It’s all about focus. The main reason most people struggle professionally and personally is simply lack of focus.

I learned that, ‘my habits will determine my future’ and that ‘it takes focused action, personal discipline and lots of energy every day to make things happen’.

The word ‘Focus’ became my mantra for 2008 and it guided me through what turned out to be an extremely challenging but rewarding year.  Another best selling author Brian Tracy claims that, ‘Your ability to focus is the most important success skill you can ever develop.’
Over the last 8 years, I have continued my journey both personal and business, learning the power of focus, seeing both successes and failures but all the while learning more and more the fact that much more is achieved when we focus instead of spreading ourselves too thinly or trying to target everyone, ending up targeting no one.

Focus is potent, undiluted and it attracts.

JF Kennedy said, “Effort and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.

It is timely that now for 2016, ‘focus’, meaning having a central point of attention, is one of our key words to drive our business growth across our Business over Breakfast (BoB) Club network in Australia and New Zealand.

Focus clarifies, cuts out the distractions and provides a constant reminder of what you set out to do, who you set out to be and where you set out to go and it is focus that keeps you on the track to get there.
Focus narrows it all down, brings a simplicity and a strength. It un-complicates you and your brand. When you have focus, others can see that and are attracted to the power that brings.

Focus is and will always remain in our list of key words to drive us forward both personally and professionally. If you have not embraced ‘focus’ and its power in your personal and business life, then I strongly encourage you to do so today. We welcome comments and questions.

 

Jayne Albiston
Director
Business over Breakfast (BoB) Clubs Australia & New Zealand

CREATE – A Power Word for Every Day

March 31 , 2016 – Jayne Albiston

BoB_Create_Apr2016(sm)

This year we have 24 key words that we are applying directly to our business. They have particular meaning because we have taken them from our personal collection of words that we use to inspire and drive our lives forward.

 

In no particular order, I am commenting on one of these words every couple of weeks and they appear in our company newsletter each month. These comments are my own and I would welcome any additional insight, inspiration or feedback that you may have on them, including any experiences that you may have had along your business journey so far.

 

The 4th word is: CREATE…

 

There is a reason this word made it to our collection of inspiring words. Create implies there is always an opportunity for something new. It also screams of being proactive rather than reactive.

 

Some people sadly live their lives in reaction – life happens TO them and their time is spent dealing with the consequences.

 

Many years ago I read an article which made so much of an impact on me at the time that I used to share it with every class of students I taught. It was all about choosing to be proactive rather than reactive and to choose to live your life like that.  In other words we have the power to create our lives and if we don’t like the life we have, then we should set about designing another one.

 

Since that time, and since The Secret alerted us all to The Law of Attraction, there have been many people encouraging us all to create Dream Boards, to write up our dreams and turn them into goals – reiterating that thoughts, become words which then become actions. Your habits become your life.

 

The word create for me is potently positive – it is the end of excuses, the motivation to get moving, the wiping clean of whatever slate you have in front of you and the notion that endless possibility does exist if you but take the time to design it, to create and as the dictionary says, ‘To bring something new into existence.’.

 

Jayne Albiston
Director
Business over Breakfast (BoB) Clubs Australia & New Zealand