Tuesday, 2 August 2016

4 Ways These Fictional Characters Will Improve Your Networking Skills

If there’s one thing that Ashwin Sanghi’s most recent book, The Sialkot Saga, taught me, it would be the indispensability of networking in today’s world.

Arbaaz Sheikh and Arvind Bagadia.

Both at the top of their games.

But, how did they reach there? What was the secret behind their continued success?

Readers come to know the key to this alleged success early on in the story and they are assured of it time and again as the story progresses. You don't have to be an observant reader to identify their key to success.

As you flip the pages of the book, you will realize that though both Arbaaz and Arvind seem to be poles apart, they have one thing in common: a growing network of connections built with cunning foresight and the knowledge that humans don't sacrifice; they give. They give with the expectation of getting something in return. And it is precisely that which drives what Brazilian best-selling author, Paulo Coelho, refers to as the Favor Bank.

So, how do you build your network? Through LinkedIn? Facebook? Twitter? You'll reach your own conclusion by the time you finish reading this.

In the meantime, let's take a look at a few ways in which Arbaaz and Arvind built their networks.

1. They approached people. If not, they made themselves approachable at the right time and right place.

When the characters started out, they belonged to an era where television and internet were unheard of. This meant that they did not sit cooped up in front of the laptop screen, sorting through possible connections on LinkedIn and neither were they busy friending a stranger on Facebook.

Instead, they relied on the people they knew in their daily lives to get their work done. Whether it was Murali for Arbaaz or Joydeep for Arvind, both were able to identify the potential in their fellow classmates and thus, strengthened the roots of their friendship early on, way before either could even imagine being listed in the Forbes list of India's Top Richest People. And it wouldn't have been possible if either had remained aloof or surrounded himself with an invisible wall.

2. They made sure to reciprocate a favor.

The pen that you borrowed from a classmate a month back? You'd better return it. Even a supposedly small thing like that could uproot the trust that a person has put in you.

Arbaaz and Arvind, though shrewd and not always morally correct in their ways, were sharp enough to know that they were duty bound to return a favor to someone kind enough to do them one. Murali showed compassion towards Arbaaz when he was caught with his homework incomplete. Arbaaz didn't accept it then but keenly reciprocated the kindness later in life. Meanwhile, Arvind made sure he passed on some of the moolah from his scams to his friend, Joydeep for allowing him to use the printing machine in his father's school. Both of these childhood friends proved to play an immense role in the main characters' successes later on.

3. They were genuine at heart.

When your best friend turns out to be disloyal, you immediately face disappointment. Why? Simply because if you had been in his place, you would not have done the same.

Both Arbaaz and Arvind feel slighted more times than one, and they immediately become defensive. Having deposited in another's Favor Bank with expectations that the person would shower them with due kindness, they feel let down by the most important people in their lives. Ultimately, though, they realize their own mistakes as well and take action to correct the balance in the Favor Banks of both parties. The expectation, guilt, and subsequent corrective action would not have arisen if they hadn't built their relationships on trust and genuineness.

4. They reached out.

When was the last time you talked to your favorite teacher from school? Been a while? Don't even think of leaving a message and letting it go at that. Will it possibly hurt to give her a call?

Arbaaz and Arvind frequently dropped in to meet their acquaintances when in the same town. Moreover, Arvind’s periodic communication with a man who went from being next to nothing to being the Prime Minister of India is admirable. His care in sending handwritten letters from the very beginning and being aware enough to congratulate the man on reaching every milestone, while also showing support during his so-called failures, shows the effort he took in keeping touch with the people in his network. It is a reflection of the respect and responsibility with which one should maintain relationships and not just build them.

If you read the book, you will figure out how flawed both Arbaaz and Arvind are as human beings. Then again, we all are. But as networkers, you can certainly say that they are some of the best. True, their tactics don't comprise all it takes to be a great networker but, they surely cover the basics!

Written by Priyanshi Sheth
"Namaste!" from a creative, Indian soul who aims to keep herself motivated as she writes, travels, photographs, and thereby, shares her knowledge.

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