Building networks of reciprocity

Making people feel special is an art form, especially when you’ve only known them for ten minutes

I’ve had a mentor who would walk into a room and by the end of the night, everyone in the room would know who he was and why he is simply just a remarkable person. His personality is extremely different to mine (he is on the extreme end of extroversion where I would describe myself as an ambivert) but I’ve learnt a lot just by observing what he does.
Listening and genuinely helping someone attain something of value to them – is by far the easiest way to get people to remember & like you.
Three things to make this happen for you:

  1. Keep building your personality portraits
  2. Read, Experience stuff & just Do it
  3. Be selfless.

A lot people think that networking is awkward, uncomfortable and difficult. It is if you come across as the annoying guy that only blows his own horn. But if you see networking as an opportunity to help someone realise something they’ve always wanted to – it becomes an incredibly powerful way to connect.
You can’t do the above without building and utilizing your personal networks. This is where your personality portraits come in handy & lets you put each new person together with another member of your network. LinkedIn & other networks also come in handy when you can’t remember certain details about a particular person. Additionally, I have my own trusted “experts” in almost every field whose expertise I will leverage frequently – from all aspects of business to tech, fashion, restaurants (if you don’t eat, you die), law, health, art, politics etc. In turn I provide these friends help with stuff that I’m good at.

But you can’t build a network if you don’t know stuff. And by stuff, I mean almost everything. The art is just knowing enough to string a conversation and demonstrating you’re genuinely interested. Pick up random magazines when you’re about to board a flight and read them cover to cover. Download Zite and choose some topics you have no idea about. Go have lunch in a suburb you’ve never been to before. Go to an art exhibition and just absorb.

Knowledge is only useless if you have no one to share it with. So read widely, have opinions & when its obvious that you don’t know enough, be humble. Key here is to do this daily, no matter how small an effort (reading an article on Zite takes 5 minutes).

Being selfless is how reciprocity kicks off – “be the change you want to see” said Gandhi. A bit clichéd, however by helping someone you’ve instantaneously built trust – they’re going to share a lot more information with you than would do normally. Information is more paint for your portrait and only helps you keep building your networks.

Being interested isn’t hard, doing something about it to help someone is. So JUST DO IT.

Building networks of reciprocity

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