Wanting to Matter

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
~Leo Buscaglia

I have a friend who checks his email obsessively. He’s a nice guy and a snappy dresser, but whenever he has a moment he pulls out his smart phone to check his accounts. Understand, he’s not being rude. He isn’t ignoring the people around him in favor of the electronic world, but he does seem just the tiniest bit driven to see if any new messages have come in. How do I know this?

Umm, because that guy is me?

Do you obsessively check your email throughout the day, too? Oh, I tell myself that I have to do it, because you never know when someone needs a keynote speaker for their next annual association gathering or to train their sales staff in the fine art of networking. If I’m honest with myself, though, that’s not the real reason (though I am excited when that happens). It’s not to continue the unending pursuit of “inbox zero”, and it’s certainly not because I’m desperately awaiting the next issue of any of the dozens of newsletters I receive. So, what am I waiting for?

A response.

We send out messages to other people all the time. It’s just part of a normal day for most of us. When I open my mail program and I see that someone has gotten back to me, it gives me a little charge. It’s almost as if they are acknowledging my existence — like I matter to them in some small way. I feel the same when someone calls me back, even if it’s only to leave a voice message. Facebook posts? Same thing. It’s just nice to know my efforts to help — to connect, to matter — aren’t just falling silently into the abyss.

Fundamentally, this is the real reason we network. Oh, sure, we want to grow our business, build a career, find a job, but we quickly learn that that only happens when we find ways to be of service to others — when we find opportunities to matter.

And ultimately, isn’t that the goal of our whole life? To matter?

Today, when you sit down to make your calls or emails, remember that just like you, the people to whom you are reaching out want you to notice them, too. The more people you can make feel that way, the stronger your network of relationships will be.

If you make them matter, you will matter to them.

Photo by creativity103.com

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Greg Peters, president and founder of The Reluctant Networker, LLC, is a business networking specialist. He works with trade associations on both the local and national level to create a culture of better connections and greater opportunity. Find out more at www.TheReluctantNetworker.com or gpeters@thereluctantnetworker.com.

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