Meet Cheryl Koop.

Cheryl is a pastor at Coastal Church and is known to be an advocate of generous support for those seeking a faith in God through Christ Jesus, strengthening relationships and gaining wisdom.

We wanted to get a different point of view when it came to making connections. Most of the connections and relationships we talk about here are professional ones. Making personal connections are just as important. There’s a lot we can learn from Cheryl. Read on to find out just how much.

Q: How and where did you form your most significant contacts? How have these changed over time?

I am a huge fan of the unexpected. I anticipate the supernaturally natural run-ins and, over the years, have established relationships with many of these unscripted connections. One example that comes to mind was at a gymnastics program we enrolled our young daughter and son in. While watching their class, I noticed their instructor was wearing a T-shirt of a Christian artist, whose music I enjoyed. The following week, when calling to inform her that both children wouldn’t be there due to a flu bug, I randomly asked her about the T-shirt. In that phone conversation, she shared that her husband had just been drafted by the CFL to Canada and she was desperately seeking a friend. The friendship that developed over a start-up conversation has lasted 25 years.

Cheryl KoopQ: What does networking look like in your world? What are some of your top tips for successfully networking in this city?

The deepest satisfaction of networking is the privilege of people trusting me enough to share an aspect of their lives, and then allowing me to connect them to another who could help them grow or, ideally, be in relationship with. This could be in their personal, professional, or faith journey. Successful networking can only take place if you truly have the best interests of the other person in mind, not your own. Don’t discount a thought that may randomly come to mind of a person you would have no reason to be thinking about. Connect with them and let them know you were thinking about them, without asking them for anything. We all want to be thought of, and the outcome usually brings an opportunity for future conversations. Treat one with kindness, the way you wish you could treat everyone.

Q: What advice do you have for the Vancouver woman who is just starting out in her career or considering a leap to a new career?

Glean advice from women beyond the boundaries of a specific career field. The wisdom of every woman successful in her area of expertise will usually boil down to the same thing. Be a woman of your word, don’t over promise and under deliver. Invite a woman you admire out for coffee or lunch. Keep to a specific time frame and be clear why you would like to meet. Ask questions, instead of being anxious to share your story. And don’t let her pay. Let her know her time and experience are valued. 80% of what she says you may know. The 20% you don’t know is what you are listening for.

Wow, we could not have said it better ourselves! Spoken like a true woman of experience. Sage advice–that 20% is so important.

And having the guts to start a random conversation that led to a friendship of over 25 years?!? That’s amazing. Can you image Cheryl had not initiated the conversation? So much would have been missed out on. Remember, networking isn’t always about your professional life; and hey, sometimes friendly connections are the ones that lead to the important professional connections. You just never know.

Are you looking to make connections in your city, or speak to mentor to learn the 20% of what you don’t know? Sign up now for Elletourage. There are friendships and connections waiting for you.

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