All about Me…

The First-Timer’s 4 Rules for Networking

Posted by vishalsinghal on September 22, 2008

These rules are given by Andrew Hoag who is founder & CEO of Black Drumm, a stealth-mode startup developing tools and services for specific areas of social commerce. In his spare time, he chairs Founder’s Nest, a private peer group of entrepreneurs & CEOs in San Francisco.

I will share my views on the rules in italics.

1. Never, ever, underestimate anyone. That old adage of the guy who cuts someone off driving to the interview, only to find out in the parking lot it was the hiring manager, is true more often than you’d like. The woman scraping the gum off the floor in the restaurant may be the owner, you don’t really know. I believe that every human being has something positive to give to this world, and those who are open to that premise stand to benefit from it the most. I personally tell this point to many of my friends and to be entrepreneurs.

2. Be genuine. While many people will tolerate a blowhard, most won’t reciprocate without self-interest. But by engaging with people you genuinely enjoy, you’ll quickly see reciprocal engagement and spontaneous acts of generosity. Being genuine is also more efficient. Put on an act, and you’ll end up wasting precious time in business relationships that may be useful to the other person, but which are not in your own interest. By being genuine all the time,  I have recieved lot of praise from most unexpected audience. So I sincerely follow this rule.

3. Be patient. If people think you are expecting something from them, they tend to feel used or taken advantage of. What’s the rush? One contact I made resulted in a very important and marquis advisor being added to my company — three years later. Many of my close friends have done this mistake of asking for something right in first meeting with anybody and thus either have not been able to contact the person again or have been completely ignored. When I suggested them this rule of networking, they gained tremendously.

4. Give before you get. As soon as I meet someone new I’m immediately thinking about whether I can help them, not because I want to trade a favor (I may not need anything from them), but because this is how I would like to be treated by them. Pro-actively giving may seem like a cost, and it may require you to be a little extra patient as well, but in the end, the reciprocal support I receive, simply by offering to help people who aren’t asking for it, is overwhelming. It builds tremendous loyalty and respect. In my view, in sales, it’s called consultative selling which means never try to sell but try to discuss problems of people you meet and try giving them solutions for free. You will definitely see yourself getting image of a solver and expert in your field and may finally end up getting paid.

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