One of the many things that I love about running and growing the Catena network is that I get to have great conversations on all manner of subjects. One recent example of that was a fascinating discussion I recently had with designer Martin Knox at his offices. We talked about The Three Gates of Speech. If you haven’t heard of this, you can click on the link here : http://www.philpercs.com/2015/05/the-three-gates-of-speech.html to read about it. Essentially, it is an approach that recommends, as quoted on the website above:
“Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates:
At the first gate, ask yourself “Is it true?”
At the second gate ask, “Is it necessary?”
At the third gate ask, “Is it kind?”
I think this is great because it works on both a personal and a business level. It strikes me that, as well as being a very good mantra for all social media postings, The Three Gates of Speech is actually a great basis for networking too. I’ve lost count of the times that I’ve heard people say to me that they dislike being “sold to” at networking events and that they are tired of the more traditional approach of one-off sales transactions. But by adapting how people engage with each other we could create The Three Gates of Catena, with the gates being Authenticity, Delivery and Longevity… Here’s how I see it working:
Gate 1: Am I authentic?
As anyone who has spoken to me will know, I’m very keen on encouraging lasting connections between business-owners. And that philosophy of getting to know people and being open to them demands authenticity. When I talk about being authentic, I mean being honest, open and more relatable. It’s a way of creating a more immediate connection with other people and it encourages the person you’re speaking with to be authentic too. The reality is that when you’re selling your services or products all the time, it can be tempting to slip into sales mode which of course creates distance between people. By asking yourself whether you’re being authentic in your interactions with other business-owners, you can actually help to build stronger links, to create more of a network than a one-off sales transaction. This is a big part of what we encourage at all Catena events – making sure that people spend more time together and get to know each other in more depth. So that the business they do together is based on a working relationship rather than simply a drive to make a profit – though that happens too!
Gate 2: Can I deliver what I say?
Closely linked to the question above, this one allows you to ask yourself whether you’re being honest and transparent. It may sound a bit heavy but all it really means is that when you’re saying you will do something, you mean what you say – that you are able to honour what you have promised. This of course makes for much better business connections. Again, asking this question allows you to move well beyond the typical sales blurb and makes the conversation more personal and direct. Now, I appreciate that this approach may not be for everyone, but it is certainly the way we prefer to do things at Catena. We focus on nurturing long-term relationships because trust is everything and that of course comes from doing what you say you’re going to do!
Gate 3: Would you want to do business with me again?
By asking this question while you’re interacting with other business-owners, you are helping to keep the encounter the most positive that it can be. You’re thinking about long-term relationships rather than short-term sales. Yet the long-term relationship can become even more productive and profitable by not just focusing on the here and now. By asking this question of yourself and the other person, you are keeping in mind how to make them feel comfortable and engaged and looking at ways to strengthen the relationship.
What are your thoughts? I appreciate that this approach won’t feel right for everyone. But the more I consider it, the more I think that it fits perfectly with the Catena way of doing things and that way has been proven to work! We’ve seen it over and over in the relatively short time that Catena has been around. By nurturing Authenticity, Delivery and Longevity, we have seen our members – and even one-off visitors! – reap great rewards. Yes, it goes beyond the more “old school” way of doing business and, yes, it certainly takes more effort. Yet, by applying a little more thought and TLC to the process of encouraging business connections, we’ve been able to establish a community where companies collaborate and profit from being supportive, rather than a setting where people just sell to each other. And which one would you rather be part of?
Claire Bicknell, Catena
And if you like the image above and want to know where it is – https://www.google.com/maps?q=Lindulovskaya+Roshcha,+Russia,+197729&ftid=0x4696ffa948067937:0xc7c01a428511e292&hl=en-GB&gl=uk&shorturl=
Thanks to Selina Moestl who utilised her network to establish the location….