Submitted by: Peter N. Rice

I love coffee and I know I am not alone. Since most people do like coffee, I have decided to use this information to share a positive attitude. One of my philosophies in life and in work is to “be a kind resource without expectation.” When I am out and about purchasing coffee for myself, I exercise my philosophy by looking for an opportunity to buy a cup of coffee for a total stranger.

This has not been as easy as it might seem. In today’s world people have become skeptical and suspicious. The men I attempt to buy for don’t allow their egos to accept a gift from a strange man. The women interpret my gesture as if I was trying to “hit” on them or that I have an ulterior motive. This gives cause even further to pass on a positive feeling without expectation in hopes that the chain will not be broken and the feeling passed onto someone else.

After a while, I have fine tuned this exercise by giving the cashier a few extra dollars for the next person in line after I have made my purchase. This eliminates the opportunity for objection.

There is a lesson here for approaching networking. Everyone who is in business would agree networking is essential. Very few of us would admit that it is a favorite pastime. How many times have you been at a networking event where the person you are speaking to is looking through you? The individual has sized you up, decided you have nothing to offer, and is looking to move on to the next “victim”.

Taking the concept of buying coffee for someone and applying this to networking will lend a different perspective to the process. Who doesn’t like to do something nice for someone? It’s the basic premise of gift giving and it makes us feel good!

I was exposed to a simple concept a few months ago in a book by Bob Littel titled, “The Heart and Art of Netweaving”. When meeting someone in a networking environment, think of ways you can help this person. It’s a novel idea, right? It’s the Golden Rule.

By giving a referral to the person with whom you are networking, (Netweaving) you are investing in a future referral of your own. The recipient is going to respond by returning the favor, of course. Take it one step further. Offer to make the introduction personally. Now, you really have made yourself valuable to this person. Think they’ll want to help you? You bet!

My attempts at being positive and sharing the enjoyment of a simple cup of coffee led me to think about something else – the element of surprise in sales and customer service. How can we make sure our customers get the same feeling when ever they interact with our businesses? How can we all “be a kind resource to our customers without expectation?” Stay tuned.

Peter N. Rice is the owner and “Professional Guide” of pnr, LLC, a sales and leadership training company located in the Delaware Valley. For more information on Peter and pnr, visit their web site at www.peternrice.com or call 1-866-466-0MAP (0627).