Two children shaking hands in front of a colorful playground

Building Blocks of Business: Networking for Kindergarteners… and Me

I don’t think it’s ever too early to start instilling life skills/business training into young people.  I’m not talking about salesy pitches, or negotiation tactics (they manage to figure those out without our guidance anyway).  I’m talking about basics for building solid relationships.  Things that will translate into success whether you are the CEO of a fortune 500 company, washing cars, or running your own start up.

For instance, we moved recently, and my five-year-old is longing to make some new friends in the area.  We have been working with him on the skill of learning and using someone’s name.  This means when he sees someone new (his age or not), he is to ask their name and then find a way to use it 3 times at least.    Creating this habit at five years old will mean he will likely be quite excellent at it by the time he is out in the workforce.  And that means he will be that much better prepared to land his first job, maintain customer relationships, or win over a big contract.  It might also help him win over the love of his life.  And meet his best friend.  The possibilities are limitless…

Before we began working on it, we had to sell him on the idea of doing this.  We talked about how people feel super honored when they hear their own name, and made sure to use his name a lot in the conversation so he got to see for himself how good it feels.  We talked about how if you use someones name several times, it helps it to stick in your own brain so you remember it.  He had a desire to learn because he wanted to make friends, so that helped too.

Maybe your kids have a great network of friends or maybe they are apprehensive about being the first to speak to someone new (my youngest is this way).  We will have to sell them on this based on where they are, and what their needs and desires are.  Keep at it.  And if they aren’t ready, find another business skill that they are open to learning now.

Why?  Because teaching these skills to our children force us to hold ourselves to this same standard, if not higher.  For me that means I need to find out a new person’s name, use it 3 times, learn about what matters to them, acquire contact information, make notes about what I learned about them, and follow up.  Which reminds me, I need to figure out a better follow up system, because I’m going need to know how to teach that to my kids someday too…  If you know of something that works well for you, please drop a comment below!

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