I was in Rhode Island last Friday giving a workshop on Promoting Your Brand to Rhode Island Networking to Open Doors to Jobs. I arrived early and was, therefore, able to sit in on the facilitated networking exercise at one table. All of the people at the table were highly qualified and competent individuals who held director or executive level positions before being laid off.

The facilitator at the table asked each person to give a little information about their background, their strengths and expertise, and what kind of position they were seeking. I was impressed how well each person articulated their strengths and what types of companies and jobs they were targeting for employment. Everyone around the table responded enthusiastically with potential contacts and leads for their colleagues.

We worked our way around the table to one woman who told the group that she was an architect and was now in limbo and trying to decide what she wanted to do going forward. She told the group that at this time she was looking for any type of job. Interestingly enough, the group who had previously been so helpful to others, now remained quiet. They simply did not know how to respond.

The lesson from this is: People really want to help. In fact, most people are eager to assist you in getting a new job or getting clients, but YOU need to give them enough information so that they CAN help. When we are vague and unclear about what we want ourselves, we cannot expect others to come up with the answers for us.

If you are a business owner or entrepreneur, the more specific you can be about who is your target audience, the easier it is for people to refer business.

If you are looking for new employment, be clear about what type of company you want to work for and what kind of position you are seeking.

People sincerely want to help. Give them the opportunity to be helpful.