1. Don’t schmooze. Have something to say, and say it with passion. Make sure you have something to offer when you speak, and offer it with sincerity. Most people haven’t figured out that it’s better to spend more time with fewer people at a one-hour get-together, and have one or two meaningful dialogues, than engage in the wandering-eye routine and lose the respect of most of the people you meet.
2. Don’t rely on the currency of gossip. Of course, using gossip is easier. Most people lap up such information. But it won’t do you any good in the long run. Eventually the information well will run dry as more and more people realize you’re not to be trusted.
3. Don’t come to the party empty-handed. Who are the stars of today’s Internet world? Bloggers. Those freewheeling cybernauts who set up sites and online journals to provide information, links, or just empathy to a community of like-minded individuals. They do it for free, and they’re often rewarded with a devout following of people who, in return, offer as much as they receive.
4. Don’t treat those under you poorly. Soon enough, some of them will become “overlings.” In business, the food chain is transient.
5. Be transparent. “I am what I am,” the cartoon character Popeye used to say. In the information age, openness—whether it concerns your intentions, the information you provide, or even your admiration—has become a valuable and much-sought-after attribute. People respond with trust when they know you’re dealing straight with them.
6. Don’t be too efficient. Nothing comes off as less sincere than receiving a mass e-mail addressed to a long list of recipients. Reaching out to others is not a numbers game. Your goal is to make genuine connections with people you can count on.
All of which reveals an inner truth about the skill of reaching out to others: Those who are best at it don’t network—they make friends. They gain admirers and win trust precisely because their amicable overtures extend to everyone. A widening circle of influence is an unintended result, not a calculated aim.
Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time by Keith Ferrazzi, Tahl Raz