I am reposting this blog that I wrote on an old website last year. After reading Courtenay Rogers’ post on unselfish networking today, I decided that I should chime in on that discussion.
So there I was, using this snowy day as an excuse to stay home and feed my Facebook addiction when a complete stranger starts up a Facebook chat with me. Not sure how we’re friends, but that’s cool; I actually enjoy talking to strangers. I’ll spare you the entire discourse, but suffice it to say:
- His first line (in place of “hello”) was “What kind of contacts do you have?“
- His response to my confused reply was “I want to be a model. Do you know any famous people?“
The ensuing conversation was silly to say the least, but it got me thinking about how many of these type conversations I’ve encountered here in Music City. You know what I’m talking about…
“Hi. How are ya? What can you do for me? Anything? No? See ya later…”
Obviously, this is more of the exception than the rule, because from my experience most of the people in Nashville are sweet as sweet can be. However, we’ve each had our weird encounter with the shameless self-promoter, bless his or her heart.
So where am I going with this? Here is where:
What if you asked this question at the outset of every conversation:
“What can I do for you?”
Ask it internally. Ask it externally. I’m serious. What if, from this day forward, you focused on giving rather than receiving?
Tom Ziglar writes a wonderful blog based on his father Zig’s teaching. If you don’t know Zig Ziglar, he’s one of the most motivating people you could ever listen to. A few months back I read one of the most important quotes I’ve ever read from Zig:
“You can have everything you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.”
There it is. The holy grail. The secret to networking and business success. Give, give, give and you won’t have to take. Give first and it’ll be given, right?
So, next time you’re having one of those mildly awkward yet highly necessary conversations at some networking event or social gathering, don’t obsess over what that other person has to offer you, your business, or your career.
Make a friend, be a friend, and build a relationship. Find a way to help your new buddy and they’ll find a way to help you. You won’t have to ask. It’ll just happen. If it doesn’t, the only thing that’s happened is you’ve injected a little more good will into the world.
Come from a place of contribution.
Give willingly and generously.
Live the Golden Rule.
There’s the secret. Now, go and be successful.