Does the thought of networking fill you with a sense of dread or obligation? Or, have you resolved that it is a necessary part of business, and go in with the mindset, “What can this person do for me?” or “What can I GET from attending this event?”
Now, what if you flipped that thinking around and instead asked yourself, “What value can I add to this person” or “What contributions can I bring to this event?”
This is what I call, ‘Lead with the Give’.
Try this: Starting today, whenever you meet someone — whether it is at a networking event or a friend’s dinner party — start the interaction with genuine curiosity and interest for the person, in building your relationship, and ways in which you can help them – aka ‘The Give’.
You may be saying to yourself. “Why can’t I ask for their help?” You can always ‘ask for help’, but when you create a mutually beneficial relationship started by ‘Giving’ with no expectation of ‘Getting’, it will yield much greater rewards in networking and in life.
I can tell you from personal experience that after honing the ‘Lead with the Give’ philosophy and putting it into practice, the returns have been exponential. Opportunities began coming to me from others, where there was no obvious or immediate reciprocal benefit to their “Give” — whether in the form of unsolicited introductions, new client referrals or offers of assistance.
In addition to my personal experience, let’s talk statistics. Studies have shown that connections and relationships lead to tangible career benefits and results. According to staffing.org, 46% of all hires at top performing firms are by referral — which reinforces the idea that you have a much greater chance and opportunity of finding your next job, new source of funding, or even a new business idea through a personal connection.
And, it’s not just individuals who reap the benefits and greater success from relationships and connections.
According to a research report by Yael Hochberg, Alexander Ljungqvist, and Yang Lu published in the Journal of Finance “there is clear evidence that well-networked VC firms are better positioned both to source investment opportunities and add value to their portfolio companies.”
In other words, ‘it’s who you know’ is more than just a saying – it’s a statistical fact.
Of course, connections and networks can build our rolodex, but more than that they can enrich our lives. Many spiritual teachers share the belief that when you genuinely give without any expectation of return, it actually comes back to you in an even greater way.
In his book, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, Deepak Chopra writes, “Every action generates a force of energy that returns to us in like kind… what we sow is what we reap. And when we choose actions that bring happiness and success to others, the fruit of our karma is happiness and success.”
By helping others, you increase the value of those around you which, ultimately, increases your own. The ‘Lead with the Give’ approach allows for the development of direct, honest, and open communication, which are key to any relationship or endeavor. It also makes networking and building strategic connections a lot more fulfilling!
P.S. Have you had a ‘Lead with the Give’ experience you would like to share? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.