We help ourselves by simply helping others first; without attaching conditions or ego.
It requires faith, patience and above all: no score keeping.
The Qsine Networking Initiative
(This is commonly known as The Calgary Professional Networking Group - which is just a name we picked for the online group we use to track and promote our events and participants.)
The evolving motto for this initiative is:
Network indiscriminately, be respectful to all regardless of 1st impressions but choose real friends with great care.
There is always a way to get things done and it usually requires knowing the right people. Our initiative is to develop a method to find new opportunities and resources for people, like me (Kevin), who are awkward at doing sales and promoting their company or themselves. A common thread we have found in many people is that they are capable of doing great things even if they have trouble communicating what they do to others. There is a lot of self help information that teaches "How to be a great communicator" but if you are like me, it is not in your nature to have a slick tongue. So screw all that crap! Instead of changing people, our aim is to create a place where even lousy communicators at least feel comfortable talking about what they do.
Please see the side bar for materials that give more information about our events. Particularly, how to prepare for an event. The events are structured and the better prepared you are, the more you will get out of them. Feel free to call Qsine at (403) 248-9066 and ask for Tak, Sheldon or Kevin for coaching or assistance.
The idea behind our initiative is really simple: create an environment where people are comfortable introducing themselves to new people and they will.
An environment where people are comfortable making self introductions is one where the risk of being rejected or made to feel either small or unimportant is removed. To do this, we simply prepare each person for a structured event where they get to come tell their story and the price they have to pay is to listen to everyone else's. This blurs the line that typically exists between who is the target and who is the provider. Which essentially breaks down the structure that elevates one person into a position of greater control. By bringing people eye to eye, we find that bidirectional communication just naturally occurs and people share ideas and opportunities with others in the community they now find themselves in.
The purpose of the Qsine Networking Initiative is to expand our perception and influence on opportunities beyond the ones available via people we know, through the people we know. Our faith is that we will reach the people who can help us accomplish our goals by simply helping others achieve theirs.
As a resource page for people contemplating coming to one of our events, it is easier to start by telling you what our events are not than what they are:
- We do not have guest speakers or other attractions and then expect you to network during the intermission and breaks.
- We are not a social event where you come, get a name tag, a drink and then work on your own to break into cliques that are formed around a room.
- We are not a place where you come with a list of names of your contacts and trade with others.
- We are not an event that gets a few high profile, influential people and a bunch of people who want to meet them.
- We are not a place where you have to feel self conscious introducing yourself. Our participants want to tell their story as much as you want to tell yours. Generally, you will get treated with the same respect you show others.
- We are not a gathering limited to people with a special interest or some sort of trade organization.
- We are not an organization who charges you fees to contact or join or membership.
- A speed networking event that breaks the group into small groups where people tell each other:
- Who they are.
- What they do or their company does (The resources they bring to the group).
- Why they are networking or what they want to accomplish or problem they want to solve etc. (Opportunities others in the group can help with).
- A place where you meet everyone who attends whether there are 5 people or 50.
- A place where 100% of past participants said they felt comfortable meeting people
- They are a business meeting with no alcohol.
- They are a place where people get to know each other face to face and can make referrals with confidence.
- They are a place to meet new people and follow up to develop relationships and friendships.
- Our events are for information you want to broadcast not a place to discuss confidential information.
- They are a place where you may run into competitors and gentlemanly conduct is expected.
- We do not let people who create a mail list from the group to spam attend future events if we receive complaints.
- We try to foster diversity by inviting people from a variety of industries and backgrounds and refraining from inviting people with backgrounds that start overwhelming the group.
- No charge to participants.
No Charge? So What does Qsine get out of this?
Increasing our odds of being in the right place at the right time by turning contacts into relationships.
"It's who you know, not what you know!" How many times have you heard someone say this with disdain and contempt in their voice? The truth is that there are two sides to this: the winning side and the losing side. In my experience, people sympathetically listen too much to the losing side without considering that the winning side may be more than nepotism. Usually people who are successful at capitalizing on an opportunity simply have the right relationship at the right time. The losing side often arrives too late and doesn't know it. They think they see the deal unfold and happen but really they see only what happens after the decision to proceed is made. And realistically, who expects anyone to proceed without knowing how a deal is going to be done? Or that people will sidestep someone they trust to deal with a stranger, even if they make a great sales pitch that they can do it better? The trust has to be there early and even if it is hard work compared to complaining, Qsine's Networking Initiative aims to access the positive aspects of the "Who you know" argument.
In a span of about 10 months, we made over two hundred face to face contacts with our events and the ensuing follow ups. This has led to valuable references, sales leads, potential new vendors, potential partners for chasing opportunities, the formation of groups with common interests, etc.
We have helped several people make contacts that have been helpful to them and others have helped us. The point is not to help someone and expect something in return. People naturally form affinities with others that they are comfortable with assistance flows accordingly and nets out in the group as a whole as opposed to bi-directionally between people.
We don't charge for the events because there are very few costs associated. Only coffee, donuts and time to campaign for participants. We have no ambitions to monetize or institutionalize the events by charging for admission or membership. The concept is so simple that anyone with enough ambition to make a few calls to people they know can do it. And the group has grown simply from people who have done this. Some people have started hosting events and we welcome anyone who will help us continue these events.
We have grown the group by just spreading our enthusiasm with people we know. From positive experiences in the group, these people have spread their enthusiasm. Our ambition is to grow this groups to the point where Qsine becomes insignificant to its survival by simply teaching people how easy it can be to meet people with this concept.
Our hope is that we periodically find a few enthusiastic participants who will start to put events together on their own. We will coach and provide materials to anyone starting their own group. In fact, after attending a few events, this web page is all anyone needs to start their own event and you are welcome to plagairize any documents related to our network events.
Our goal is to foster the creation of new groups and have them interact. The idea is so simple, we don't see a need for a formal organization full of self-serving rules to make this work.
Qsine started these events because I, Kevin, am a lousy networker. One thing I am good at is looking at process that are bottlenecks in my company and asking "How do we do this better?" So around a table one day, we started discussing how we did things and how we would design it if we were to make it more effective and the Qsine Networking Initiative was born.
We don't see our initiative as particularly innovative or new. It is more like returning back to a community that technology made easy to forget. Fast travel and instant communication seemed like the things that brought the world to our door. The recent recession all but stopped the orders flowing from the street, phone, fax, web and email. What we realized is that while these devices seemed to enable bi-directional communication, it really is not in their nature. None of them are very helpful connecting us to people we don't already know or have a common interest with. Looking back, we see how operating during the busy times led us into a vacuum and we are grateful to have an opportunity to get back in touch with the human element of business again.
Things like our initiative have been tried in many ways in the past but it seems they were all based on the assumption that people left to their own devices, in a room will communicate. We believe that this is untrue. We see where people tend not to communicate until they feel comfortable and this is the key item we intend to focus on.The other thing I have always held disdain for are networking events that are hosted by someone willing to fork out the bucks to make a big impression that draws people in so they can get something out of them; and pretend like that is not what they are doing. These events with obvious ulterior motives give me the heebee-geebee's. Our commitment is to stick to the "We help ourselves by helping others" philosophy.
Our event is immature and will develop as we try to foster better communication. We depend heavily on the feedback from participants so please feel free to contact us.