Post Pandemic Pay it Forward

There’s a massive appeal of the open road and so many tangible benefits to meeting clients and colleagues face to face and in person. If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s the potential of technology to forge connections and maintain relationships, even if we can’t be physically together.

Perhaps an unappreciated side benefit is the sudden acquisition of new friends and colleagues and the ability to reach out to someone, anyone, anywhere, with a question, request, or comment.

A case in point from this past week: a colleague wrote that she was struggling with how to respond to a social media attack from a disgruntled employee. The potential damage to the organization was top of mind but she also knew better than to respond in kind. Without getting into the weeds, we exchanged a few notes with suggested tactics and messages and in 20 minutes she was ready to take her stand. Now, back in the day, she might have had to reach out to public relations or crisis communications firms, get quotes and references, pay a retainer, and subject herself to all kinds of additional services, potentially. But, in this networked world she looked through her book of contacts and determined that I might be able to offer some advice. Which I did. It was quick, painless, and free.

Now I’m not saying you can build a business by offering free service but if you can solve someone’s issue in a few minutes, based on your expertise and their need, why wouldn’t you? The beauty of our new networks and the connections that arise, is this circle of support where we can lift each other up, make each other better, without feeling diminished or put-upon in any way.

Paying it forward is one of my favourite concepts and I try to do it as often as possible. I am not always overt about the paying-it-forward obligation so if I have worked with you for no charge, and didn’t say so at the time, you owe me! You owe me an occasion where you are in a position to help someone else with an introduction, a bit of advice, or a strong business lead. Paying back/forward feels so good, and it’s good for you too.

Joanna Piros