Dale Carnegie in his book How to make friends and influence people observes that every person longs to be recognized and appreciated. And that anyone who discovers and practice this will win the hearts of many. Jim McCann in his book Talk is (NOT) Cheap-The Art of Conversation Leadership-states that a connection is important if you ever expect to start a conversation with anybody.How to create that connection is what I explore in this article to help social innovators in Africa to create Social Enterprise.
While having a conversation over coffee with a director at Exclusive VIP facilitation LTD Kenya, I ask him what he does in life and he answers “I meet and greet visitors as I help them through Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) “ I wonder aloud? and people pay you or you are doing charity? He smiles at me, then say Yes! people pay me handsomely. In fact in dollars. I am not dreaming, this is a reality in Africa.
The reality of knowledge and service economy is here with us. Those who will survive are individuals that will consider having genuine concern for others.Success will follow those who will learn to empathize. Daniel Goleman, a respected expert in Emotional Intelligence confirms that those who are able to empathize with others easily create a connection.If you will learn to initiate constructive and relevant conversation then you will join the group of those than can benefit it this era.The society now is yearning for people and organizations not only driven by hunger for accrual of personal wealth but those who are thinking of the welfare of others as well.
You can bear me witness that you will not ignore somebody who genuinely and happily smiles at you right? I was forced to learn this lesson while pursuing my Undergraduate degree at the university of Nairobi because i had to earn something extra apart from the loan from Higher Eduction Loans Board (HELB) which i used to pay my fees, for my mother could not afford and in any case i wanted to be indepedent. I could smile and greet employees of the University with joy while trying to get connection which could link me to somewhere i could do some manual work to earn some extra coins. That is how i landed at Kenyatta National Hospital University cafeteria as a waiter. Because of smiling and greeting customers with joy i got many customers who always wanted to be served by me. And guess what? I always had tips that could take me trough the week at the university hostels. I made friends: Doctors, Nurses, Lectures and Students who are within my networks until now. That is the influence you can have if you learn to Smile and Appreciate others.
As my friend at JKIA will tell you, most people especially those from western countries appreciate his services. This he believes is contiguously spreading to Africa. People appreciate when they are helped with joyful individual, especially after a long flight, those in offices will appreciate somebody to help them run their errands. But you have to build credibility and trust first. You build trust by working in a well structured manner. Importantly,you need to adhere to the rules and regulation of the countries that you are working in. Nobody will want to deal with illegal and shadow entities. So, Social Innovators have to legitimize their services or work with registered and recognized organization. You also need to be conversant with the modern modes of payment accepted both Internationally and locally if you have to survive. For this will help you cut a niche for yourself as well as remove the barriers that can hinder you from offering your services to the world.
As we seek to tackle the problem of Poverty, Unemployment and Radicalization in Africa you will be amazed how some young people are earning a living. Instead of crying and whining of recruitment and radicalization of youths into terrorism. We need to radicalize them to be social innovators by helping them see how they can make money by smiling and helping. Just by being involved in Agricultural production chain, one can earn an Income. Just by running errands for those who are working 8.00am- 5.00pm one can earn a living. if we influence young people to think creatively we will solve our social problems.We can do this Africa.