Seriously if I hear one more person say how busy they are I’m going to scream! As an entrepreneur in the process of opening a new business, I attend networking events weekly. Too many people when asked ‘how things are going’ respond with how busy they are. I hear it all the time. I don’t know about you but I find it quite frustrating. I want a real conversation, one where I actually get to connect.
Networking in my mind is about connecting and reconnecting with people, learning from them and providing value to them. The problem that I have with the statement ‘I’m so busy’ is that it doesn’t give me a clear picture of what they actually do, how their business is really doing and what they might need to do better.
If you tell me you’re busy, I assume (right or wrong) you are doing well and you don’t need anything from me. I also decide (right or wrong) that the conversation is over. Just a thought but is it possible that ‘I’m so busy’ is being used as a mask or shield for people to avoid knowing or facing the reality of their situation. Just saying.
Here’s what I suggest. The next time someone asks you how you are doing give them something that allows them to connect and engage with you. Not sure what that means then let me give you an example. Preparing and planning to open Vin Gogh is a huge project as well as a huge learning curve. Has it been busy? You bet it has. When asked how we (my partner and I) are doing or how things are going, do we answer ‘we’re so busy’? No we don’t.
We answer with things like “it’s going well; having some challenges with permitting from the City but we are still hoping to open in August. In the meantime, we need to purchase commercial kitchen equipment and hire artists and start thinking about signage. Oh yeah and we’re trying to build a presence on Facebook and Twitter.” Then we engage them by asking if they have any suggestions?
The difference with giving some details and ‘I’m so busy’ is that you leave room for a real dialogue and an opportunity to find solutions. We don’t have all the answers so if all we said was ‘we’re so busy’, it wouldn’t leave room for you to connect with us. Answering the question with something other than ‘we’re so busy’ allows others to help (which most people love to do).
Okay, enough said. I’m getting off my soapbox now and leaving you with this ‘how are you doing’? Nope! Don’t answer yet. Take some time to think about what you need in your business to move it forward. Fashion your answer with that in mind and you will be pleasantly surprised at what you get back. We all love to help. Just give us a chance to do it.
Written by: Brenda Mahoney, Vin Gogh Paint & Sip Studio Inc.