You probably know quite a bit about Sir Richard Branson – founder and chairman of the Virgin group, and one of the UK’s richest people with an estimated net worth of USD$4.2billion.
What you may not know that is that Branson has dyslexia and had a poor academic record as a student.
So how did Branson achieve his phenomenal success in business? While he clearly has an unquenchable
ambition, a drive to create a global empire and leave a sustainable legacy for the world, one of Branson’s
key strengths is his ability to connect with people – to network.
It’s this human touch, the ability to appear real and authentic that Branson successfully cultivates. By
engaging with people on a personal level he creates loyalty and inspires those around him.
But what lessons can we learn from a businessman like Branson? You may not have plans to turn a small
mail-order music business into a global giant that includes about 400 companies in a staggeringly diverse
range of industries, but you do want to be successful.
Here’s three networking lessons we can all benefit from:
1. Network with sense of purpose. When reflecting on establishing his first music business (which
discounted records against the prices set by high street competitors), Branson said: “There
is no point in starting your own business unless you do it out of a sense of frustration.” Before you go into
any networking event or situation, ask yourself: “What am I doing here?”; “What am I trying to achieve?”;
“What is my objective for this event?”
2. Take risks when you’re networking. After launching record label Virgin Records, Branson signed
controversial bands such as the Sex Pistols, and Culture Club. Ask yourself, how are you going to stand
out and be successful if you’re going to look the same and offer the same as everyone else that you’re
competing with. What sets you apart? What makes you different and interesting?
3. Be inspired. When you’re in a networking situation, be prepared to talk about who your heroes are and
who has inspired you. Branson regularly quotes Nelson Mandela and Al Gore – an eclectic combination
but that doesn’t seem to matter. Talking about your heroes is a useful conversation starter but also
demonstrates that you have a global view, that you’re not insular, and that you’re humble enough to
respect the opinions of others.
If it all goes well then you too could end up with your own private island. Check out some awesome networking events with Pickevent Search!