You’re Doing It All Wrong: 3 Mindset Shifts to Fix the Way You Network

1) Start with a Give-First Mindset

There’s a great quote from author and entrepreneur Keith Ferrazzi that I try to include at the end of every presentation I give: “The currency of real networking is not greed but generosity.” Many approach a networking opportunity thinking: I need something. How do I get it? But the majority of networking is about helping others using your own skills and connections.

  • “What if I don’t know anybody?”
  • “How do I find the right person to talk to?”
  • “Who has what I need?”
  • “I wonder who could benefit from what I have to offer?”

2) Commit to Nurturing Your Network Over Time

There is a pervasive mindset that networking is something you start when you need something, like when starting a business or searching for a job. This couldn’t be further from the truth! A network is a group of people you know, you care about, and you invest in on a regular basis. As the individuals in your network grow, you get to watch them develop, celebrate their successes and help them where you can. With this give-first approach, your network will deliver from time to time without you even having to ask and in ways you may not have expected.

3) You Actually Strengthen Your Network By Using It

When it comes to tapping your network for help, a common mindset is: I don’t want to bother or impose on this person. But I’ve found that, when done properly, using my network has strengthened and deepened my relationships with these individuals.

  • Be careful with others’ resources. If someone in your network makes an introduction or pulls a favor for you, make sure you follow up immediately and treat that process with care through to its conclusion.
  • Close the loop. Follow up with the person who helped you to let them know if and how their help was useful. Even better if you can connect the dots as to how their help played into the bigger picture. Use this as a chance to provide a broader update on where you’re heading.
  • Good: Sending this by email or text: “Hey Sunil, It’s Wade from Zapier. Our website is getting rate-limited by Google Cloud, so we need to get in touch with Google support manager Jim Scottsmith (www.linkedin.com/in/scottsmithj) asap so we don’t keep losing users. Do you know him well enough to ping him today? If not, just let me know and I can try a college acquaintance who might know him but that’s a stretch”. And after the introduction/help plays out, you might send “Hey Sunil, Thanks again for the connection to Jim at Google Cloud. He responded and got us unblocked the same day so we’re back on. This helps us hit our $5M revenue target for this month which we would have missed without your help. Thanks again!”

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Ubiquity Ventures

Ubiquity Ventures

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Ubiquity Ventures is a seed-stage venture capital firm focused on “software beyond the screen” — turning real world physical problems into software problems.