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

Sell Sell Sell – How to understand people

You know when you meet someone for the first time & they ask you “what do you do for a crust?”

I work in Sales. I’m a bag man.

What’s a bag man? I get stuff out of my bag and sell it. Granted I do this in the online world now – but there’s only one thing people care about in sales & it’s the results you deliver.

So what makes a truly great bag man?

Is it the slick, extroverted guy who can talk who can make stuff up & talk his way through anything? Or perhaps the guy who knows all the facts, figures and detail to everything you didn’t know you needed? For long term selling – I believe it comes down to one thing.

Relationships. 

Building relationships with new people isn’t exactly easy – specifically if you’re naturally introverted like me. The below is what I do & is relevant for everyone who works with people (i.e. not just sales people). At the end of the day, we all sell sell sell.

Where do you start? One needs to understand what makes someone tick, before you come up with a way to get them to buy into what you want to sell them. How I start this process is quite simple.

I paint portraits. Not real ones (though I love art & will write about this another time), but mental ones of people’s character & personality. Once you get pro at this (with lots of practice), you will be able to predict people’s behaviour, reactions and decisions.

Start with a blank canvas. Hold back any prejudice and let the person tell you their story. If they’ve prompted you to tell your’s first, I would advise telling them something about yourself that you’ve told to 100 other people – being genuine and credible at a first meeting is incredibly important.

After you have concisely come to the point of your story (e.g. I got my first job in FMCG through my love of Fashion. How? I recited the entire alphabet in Designer Fashion labels at the interview – true story), ASK the person for their story & just listen. Don’t start thinking about your next line to impress, just listen. Take an extra 3 seconds to think about the “next logical question” to show that you have a deep understanding/concern for what they have just told you. But honestly, just listen. 

Just listen. Every piece of information a person shares with you is a reflection of their thought process, concerns and even their childhood/upbringing. There have been times within minutes of meeting someone, I would be able to tell that they have extremely close or distant relationships with their parents – how? Carefully listening to tonality and seeing facial responses to anything said about their childhood or just their parents.

Every piece of information you gain on a person is paint for your canvas. I will constantly ask mutual friends/connections for information on people all the time & social media/internet has made gathering basic information so much easier. Yes its kinda stalkerish, but enormously powerful in establish rapport with someone new very quickly.

Will come to how to use the above in the next post…

Sell Sell Sell – How to understand people

first up

Going to keep this blog as a repository of thoughts, ideas, readings and musings to be able to one day reflect on how things were.This also fulfills a need to unleash the creative side of my brain that has been tucked away in endless spreadsheets & forecast models over the last 6 years. A lot has happened in that time & I want to give back and help out where I can with so many people I’ve lost touch with.

I will endeavour to post weekly & apologise for the American autocorrect spellings of words

Ideas for blog posts would be appreciated!

first up