Fishers of Men – Networking Through the Ages
Written By Jim McNeely
The greatest networking event that ever took place was on the shore of lake Gennesaret, as a Nazarene speaker delivered an inspirational message to a large crowd of listeners. When the crowd got too close, due to lack of adequate security, the speaker boarded a fishing boat and had the owner push off from shore. The fishermen had just returned from fishing all night and had returned empty handed and were now cleaning their nets. The masterful Nazarene speaker concluded his oratory and told the fishermen to go back out. Although tired, they obediently complied and cast their nets where the speaker directed. What happened next was a miracle. The nets had so many fish that it took two boats to haul them in and both boats were so full they nearly sank. At this point the master teacher and speaker told them that they would now be fishers of men. The teacher was Jesus and the fishermen would become his disciples. So what does all this have to do with networking? Networking is a lot like fishing.
These fishermen had a goal each time they went out. Their goal was to catch fish to support themselves and their families. The goal of a networker should be to establish the right relationships and make the right contacts to create new business. Never attend a networking function without an establiahed goal. Also, if you are the featured speaker at an event, you must also have a plan.
Fishermen, like effective networkers, must use the right equipment, maintain their equipment and keep it in optimal working condition. When the fishermen returned from fishing they immediately cleaned and mended the nets. An effective networker has adequate pre-planned questions and plenty of business cards available. A good networker has practiced his elevator script or 15 second intro, and knows how to create maximum interest while building solid rapport with potential business contacts.
Much like the fishermen that realized that you have to feed your mind the right things an effective networker must be willing to train his or her brain with positive information that stimulates personal growth and development. The fishermen were not griping and whining about the failure of the previous night – they were allowing their minds to be fed by the teachings of Jesus.
An effective networker must always be prepared at a moments notice to make an impact. The fishermen didn’t put off the cleaning and mending of their nets, they got to it as soon as they docked the boat. A networker must be ready to network anywhere at any time. Your opportunity could come at the grocery store or dry cleaners or while purchasing your morning coffee.
An effective networker must have the attitude of the Nazarene speaker and realize that you are most effective in helping others get what they want. It is not about you as much as it’s about their needs and concerns.
An effective networker, much like the fishermen, isn’t afraid to ask for help when they need it. When the haul of fish was so great that they could not bring it in by themselves, they were not shy about enlisting the help of their competitor. You see, your competitor can be your ally. Caring about the wants of others isn’t just for your immediate potential contacts but your competitors as well.
May your networking be effective and fruitful as you cast into the deep and haul in your fish of men and women.