An enjoyable podcast I recently listened to was one with Jordan Harbinger from The Art of Charm appearing on Smart Passive Income by Pat Flynn. The entire podcast was excellent, and I recommend listening to it all, but what he touched on near the end is the biggest takeaway for me. It is a reminder of sorts, but there are many things we all know – intellectually or even deeper than that – but need occasional reminders.
He talked about scorekeeping when it comes to networking, and as is often the case, he shared some wise words on it. It was an extension of earlier in the podcast when he spoke of having the mindset of thinking about how to help someone else.
The root of networking is to think about helping others, not finding how others can help you. Going along with that is not expecting anything in return for any help you give. That’s not to say it isn’t nice to get something in return, but it should never be the expectation, or even a requirement of dealing with a person.
I won’t repeat what Jordan said there, but expand on it.
The mindset to approach networking with is one of helping other people. Yes, you will build relationships, but the path to that is understanding the people you deal with. You want to understand what they do, who they are, what their pain points are, and in so doing, how you can help them. They will come to understand you, of course – your understanding will come from exchanges with others that will not be one-way – but your mentality should still be how you can help them.
Once you help a person, be happy for them and be ready to help them again – unless they prove unworthy of your help by their actions (some form of wrongdoing, especially if done towards you) – and help others.
What this does is set the stage for you to be helped. Not only have others been coming to understand you, and by extension, how they can help you, but you establish yourself as someone worthy of the help. People want to help others, of course, but they especially want to help others they like and trust. People they don’t like or trust, not so much.
Jordan talked about having this mindset helping you avoid disappointment, and it makes sense. That is really a fringe benefit, because the foremost benefit is the satisfaction of helping others and setting the stage for you to be helped. Remembering this also helps you avoid scorekeeping and all of its pitfalls, which include frustration and burned bridges – the former of which you can overcome a lot easier.
When you do this, you don’t worry about whether the person you helped land a job after months of searching ever does something for you; you’re happy for them. You don’t worry about whether the person you helped land a big sale by connecting them with an important decision-maker in the buying company one day doing exactly the same for you. And you don’t lose sleep trying to figure out how to help the person who connected you right to the hiring manager at your dream company and all but got you the job. (An over-simplification, I know – you still have to be qualified and nail an interview or two.) You continue to help people, and along the way they can find ways to help you – and oftentimes, you might never help them, or at least not in a manner at all similar to how they helped you.
And let’s be honest: if you know a lot of people and are a scorekeeper, you will spend an inordinate amount of time and energy keeping score either way. You might set up an elaborate system, but think of the time, energy and other resources (paper, computer, phone, the electricity to run them, etc.) you would use up – all of which could be put to better use. Your time is so much more valuable than that, at least I think so – hopefully you do as well.
I am happy that Pat Flynn had this podcast with Jordan Harbinger. It’s an important subject and Jordan knows it very well. It was a good way to get one of those occasional reminders many of us need on this.