I love meeting new people. I’ve always done a good job with the initial skills involved with meeting new people. I feel like I can meet anyone in the world that I want to. Whether I make use of that meeting is another story (I’ll expand on the importance of following up later).
You build a network by: Introducing people to others who can provide value for them. Make sure it’s “permission networking” (you get permission from both sides first. Otherwise, you are a burden and not a help). Introducing people to ideas without any expectation of receiving something back. This means you have to get good at coming up with ideas. Finding a meaningful connection between you and the other person. A connection that person might value. Lewis Howes contacted many former athletes. Sometimes people use their hometowns or schools. Sometimes people use mutual friends, etc.
Eight Skills You Need to Become a Super-Connector
1. Introduce two other connectors. If you can introduce two people who are themselves great connectors, then you become a meta-connector. They will meet and get along, since connectors get along with one another for two reasons: they are naturally friendly people (hence their ability to connect so easily with people) and they have a lot of friends in common almost by definition.
2. Introduce two people, but this time with a specific idea in mind. Marsha, meet Cindy. Cindy, meet Marsha. Marsha, you are the best book editor in the world. Cindy, your book is the best book idea I have ever heard. You both can make money together. No need to “cc” me. If you can help two other people make money, then eventually good things will happen to you. In a few cases, I’ve been able to do this. They’re rare, but it’s happened.
3. Host a dinner of interesting people. I’ve only done this twice. When the last Star Wars prequel came out I invited people from every aspect of my life (friends, hedge fund investors, writers) to a dinner, I got everyone movie tickets, and it was a fun night. I solidified my relationships with some of my investors, plus some of the funds I was invested in, and I managed to connect people who later did business together.
4. Follow up. This is the hardest part for me. I have a five-year-old list of people who introduced me to people I actually wanted to be introduced to and then I never followed up. For instance, a few months ago I wrote a post called “Burton Silverman, are you dead yet??” Burton Silverman is one of my favorite artists. I wanted to know if he was dead to see if the value of one of his paintings had gone up. He wrote me to tell me he wasn’t dead yet. And as I type this, his studio is only a few blocks away. I could visit him right now if I want. Except for some reason I never returned his e-mail. He’s on my list. But following up is the hardest part for me. Then I put it off until I start to feel guilty about not following up. So then I push back the follow-up even more.
5. Reestablish contact. The other day I was following my own advice. I wrote an e-mail to an ex-investor of mine from 2004, saying sincerely how grateful I was he invested with me and I always enjoyed his advice and friendship. He immediately wrote back (because, unlike me, he’s a good connector and businessman) and said, “What are you up to? Here’s what I’m doing. Maybe we can work together again.” This was six years after I’d last spoken to him.
6. Show up. I don’t know which rule on this list is the most valuable. But if a good connector invites you to a dinner or a meeting, then the best thing you can do is show up.
7. Interview people. Back to Michael Ellsberg, who did something genius. He figured he wanted to meet a lot of successful people, sort of the way Napoleon Hill did when he wrote his famous best-seller Think and Grow Rich. So Ellsberg got himself a book deal about how millionaires are educated and then, book deal in hand, he interviewed as many millionaires and billionaires as he could find. The guy is now a mega-connector. When I met him a few weeks ago, he had nonstop ideas about how one goes about meeting people.
8. Produce something of value. In order to connect two people, you must have people to connect. You have to meet them in the first place, and the best way to do that is to produce something of value. I tell a story where I describe how when I was broke and about to go homeless I tried a technique of just reaching out to people. I would write letters like, “Hey, would love to meet.” Unfortunately, that never worked. People are busy. Nobody wanted to meet some random guy like me.
So instead I tried a new technique. I would spend time researching the business of each person I wanted to meet and come up with ten ideas to help them that I would give them completely for free. I gave one guy, Jim Cramer, ten article ideas he should write. He ultimately wrote back, “You should write these”—which started my financial writing career. It also led to a habit of exchanging ideas with people at TheStreet that ultimately led to me selling Stockpickr to them. Another guy to whom I gave several trading system ideas ultimately allocated money for me to trade. This started my hedge fund trading career. Once I started concentrating on producing something of value—without worrying about what I would get out of it—it started coming back to me. Pretty amazing, huh?
The Choose Yourself Guide To Wealth
What do people struggle with the most when it comes to connecting with others and building a network?
Asking. Nobody ever wants to ask—at every level, with every kind of person, from the CEO all the way down. I think people get very narrow-minded, thinking that they can only reach out to people who are already doing a similar type of job. But the underlying network science says that it’s all about weak links. Those people who are the friend of a friend of a friend. That’s a much more likely place for something important to happen to you than your inner circle of close friends and colleagues.
If you don’t ask, you’ll never get. Sure, you may only get a little bit at a time. But if you don’t ask, 100 percent of the time you won’t get. You’ve just got to get over yourself. We live in a connection economy. If you can’t connect with people for them to understand what you have to offer, you’re working in a vacuum and you’re going to lose out. You end up getting bitter in that situation, because you see your peers are moving up and doing things, and you say, “I could be doing those things. Why not me?” It’s very easy to think that somebody knows you. And that if they know you, they will think about calling you, or asking you, or wanting you for something. But people forget. I was a headhunter for many years, and I was always amazed because easily 20 percent of the time, the final person who was hired was well-known to the client. (They just hadn’t thought about them.) That means that, for every five people you know, one is likely to have an impact on you or hire you—that should make you want to expand your circle.
Building a network is like cultivating a botanical garden: You don’t want everyone in your network to be one color or one species. You want a variety of ages and stages and professions and passions, and to tend them carefully.
Look at the people whom you admire most in your field. And literally map it out. Here are the four people that are doing great work at the organizations I respect. And just reach out. If you decided to contact one person a week, that would be fifty-two new people in a year. And it starts with that, just reaching out to someone because you admire their work, or are inspired by it. I’ve never met a person, no matter how well-known, who hasn’t been flattered by an authentic compliment. Professional love letters work.
Maximize Your Potential: Grow Your Expertise, Take Bold Risks & Build an Incredible Career (The 99U Book Series)
A key for achieving success is to establish a Circle of Four People Who will make you better than you are today
Fact is, most people greatly prefer to transact business with those they know and like.
The successful often reject proposals where there is a lack of alignment on core business practices or moral differences. Life is too short to compromise. A vital component for achieving success is to establish a Circle of Four that not only encourages you to reach your full potential, but also accurately reflects who you want to become.
Your Circle of Four is made up of the four people you consider cornerstones. It includes both those you admire—such as a mentor whom you seldom see but have access to—and those dearest to you, such as your best friend or closest family member.
The sum of these four people directly reflects your life. For example, the median net worth of your Circle of Four is likely to be very close to yours. If two in your Circle are broke and two have just enough to scrape by, odds are good you’re concerned about where your next meal is coming from. Conversely, if your Circle of Four includes three people who are living their WHAT and one who is on an amazing trajectory, it’s likely you want to continually evolve and are consistently working to attain your objectives.
Be wary of those whose goals do not closely mirror or exceed yours. While it may be comfortable to surround yourself with familiar faces, they must emphatically support your mission or their weight is going to drag you down. Take a few moments to review your current Circle. Be honest about what you see. To flourish, you need accountability partners who both inspire and encourage you. Be conscious of the power your Circle holds. With the right people in your Circle, anything can happen. With the wrong people, little to nothing is more likely. Choose wisely.
The successful first seek to understand and then be understood. This is the polar opposite of how most choose to operate. A core strategy for serving first is to gather ample information to assess how immediate benefit can be provided to one’s partner.
Internet Prophets: The World's Leading Experts Reveal How to Profit Online by Steve Olsher
WHY DO SOME PEOPLE GAIN LEVELS OF SUCCESS SO MUCH higher than others’?
Frequently it’s due to the fact that they have a better philosophical strategy. They approach everyone they deal with in a totally different and more effective way than anyone else does. And while their competitors are usually unable to figure out this strategy, it is one anyone in business can successfully employ by simply changing his or her focus from “me” to “you.” This is true whether you own a business of your own or work for a corporation. This simple adjustment in your focus is the key to what I believe is the most powerful business (and life) strategy you can employ.
I call it the Strategy of Preeminence. Once you begin to use it you will always—not just sometimes, but always—stand out in the minds, hearts, and checkbooks of your client, your employees, your employer, or your boss as the very best there is. The preeminent choice. The Strategy of Preeminence is quite simply the ability to put your clients’ needs always ahead of your own. When you master that your success will naturally follow.
It’s amazing how many people and companies will say and do whatever it takes to make a one-time sale rather than taking the time to understand the clients’ desired outcome. And then having the courage and the concern to tell that client that what they really need is much less than what they told you they wanted. You may, when you take this approach, end up with a smaller initial sale, but you will have just made a new friend, someone who will remember you the next time. And who will, no doubt, tell his friends about you and your company.
Getting Everything You Can Out of All You've Got: 21 Ways You Can Out-Think, Out-Perform, and Out-Earn the Competition by Jay Abraham
A formal client-referral system will bring you an immediate increase in clients and profit. And it doesn’t cost anything to implement it. A referral-generated client normally spends more money, buys more often, and is more profitable and loyal than most other categories of business you could go after. And referrals are easy to get. Referrals beget referrals. They are self-perpetuating. Every time clients deal with you in person, through your sales staff, by letter, E-mail, or on the phone, diplomatically ask them for client referrals. But you must first set the stage. Tell your clients that you enjoy doing business with them and that they probably associate with other people like themselves who mirror their values and quality. Since they obviously know the exact people you prefer working with, you’d like them to refer their valued friends and associates to you. If you acknowledge your clients’ value and importance to you, they’ll be eager to reciprocate. Then extend a totally risk-free, obligation-free offer. Willingly offer to advise, talk to, or meet with anyone important to that client. In other words, offer to consult their referral without expectation of purchase, so your clients see you as a valuable expert with whom they can put their friends or colleagues in touch. If you do this with every client you talk to, sell to, write, or visit—and you also get your key team members to do it as well—you can’t help but get dozens, even hundreds, of new clients. I have seen business literally triple in six months when people used an organized client-referral process.
Getting Everything You Can Out of All You've Got: 21 Ways You Can Out-Think, Out-Perform, and Out-Earn the Competition by Jay Abraham
You want to learn as many skills as possible, following the direction that circumstances lead you to, but only if they are related to your deepest interests.
The model goes like this:
You want to learn as many skills as possible, following the direction that circumstances lead you to, but only if they are related to your deepest interests. Like a hacker, you value the process of self-discovery and making things that are of the highest quality. You avoid the trap of following one set career path. You are not sure where this will all lead, but you are taking full advantage of the openness of information, all of the knowledge about skills now at our disposal. You see what kind of work suits you and what you want to avoid at all cost.
You move by trial and error. This is how you pass your twenties. You are the programmer of this wide-ranging apprenticeship, within the loose constraints of your personal interests. You are not wandering about because you are afraid of commitment, but because you are expanding your skill base and your possibilities. At a certain point, when you are ready to settle on something, ideas and opportunities will inevitably present themselves to you. When that happens, all of the skills you have accumulated will prove invaluable.
You will be the Master at combining them in ways that are unique and suited to your individuality. You may settle on this one place or idea for several years, accumulating in the process even more skills, then move in a slightly different direction when the time is appropriate. In this new age, those who follow a rigid, singular path in their youth often find themselves in a career dead end in their forties, or overwhelmed with boredom. The wide-ranging apprenticeship of your twenties will yield the opposite—expanding possibilities as you get older.
Mastery by Robert Greene
I make connecting with people part of my entertainment time. You know, when most people are watching TV, I'm reading email, writing email, hopping on the phone with people, answering questions, helping other people do strategy.
Have I always been this way? Nah, it's all learned behavior. All learned. Learned and trained. I added a note to my daily checklist for a while, "Reach out to someone" or something like that. So I'd try to send one nice or thankful email per day, or offer to help someone, or ask quickly what their favorite book is.
Baby steps. Now I'm getting fairly a lot of email and comments and people reaching out to me on different sites, and that's really cool.
Make connecting with people part of your entertainment time. Don't make it work time. Do it to relax, to cool off, enjoy it. Think of it as a nice privilege. I really enjoy it.
Stuff like this happens slowly. Incremental progress. Work towards it.
Start by sending out short (the shorter the better) emails to people who you see saying or doing something cool. Even if they don't write back, I guarantee they appreciate it.
Well, the way I see it, there are exactly three basic ways -
1.) Get introductions
2.) Reach out to people
3.) Do something prominent and solicit people to reach out to you
Ikigai by Sebastian Marshall
People will compromise on the really important shit in order to save a little money. I, however, am not like that so let me give you two pieces of advice here.
First, know the value of your time. I know that I’ve already said that a bunch of times and you’ll probably hear it from me another time before we’re done because it’s so important. I paid sticker price for the last car I bought. The single reason I did this was because my time is worth a lot more when I’m in the office working than if I’m saving 2 grand haggling over the price of the car. Some people might call me a chump for at least not trying, but I call it smart. I can’t afford to waste my precious time like that.
Secondly, don’t be cheap out on the important stuff. I spend most of my life in my computer chair and in my bed. So I bought the top of the line Herman Miller Aeron and a pimped out Sleep Number mattress. Again, to me, that’s just smart. I want my ass to be happy. A comfortable chair, a good bed and an awesome wife. That’s a perfect recipe for happiness. Everything else you can take in stride and figure out, even if it’s stuff that seems impossible at the time.
Nothing's Changed But My Change by Jeremy Schoemaker, Kate Sprouse
No process in history has done more to facilitate the exchange of information, skills, wisdom, and contacts than mentoring. Young men and women learned their trade by studying as apprentices under their respective craftsmen. Young artists developed their individual style only after years working under elder masters. New priests apprenticed for a decade or more with older priests to become wise religious men themselves. When finally these men and women embarked on their own, they had the knowledge and the connections to succeed in their chosen field.
By studying the lives of those who know more than we do, we expand our horizons. As a child, I realized that many of the opportunities other kids had that would expose them to new things and new people, like summer camp or extra tutoring, were unavailable to me. I quickly learned that success in my life would require determination, exploration, self-reliance, and a strong will. I also learned to rely on other people who were available: my father and some of the more professional people he knew in our neighborhood.
Dr. David McClelland of Harvard University researched the qualities and characteristics of high achievers in our society. What he found was that your choice of a “reference group,” the people you hang out with, was an important factor in determining your future success or failure. In other words, if you hang with connected people, you’re connected. If you hang with successful people, you’re more likely to become successful yourself.
I remembered that my father and mother had told me to speak less in such situations; the less you say, the more you’ll likely hear. They were warning me, given my predisposition for dominating a conversation from an early age. That’s the way you learn from others, Dad said, and glean the small nuances that will help you engender a deeper relationship later on. There’s also no better way to signal your interest in becoming a mentee. People tacitly notice your respect and are flattered by the attention. That said, quiet for me isn’t exactly quiet. I asked tons of questions, suggested things that I saw from the summer, and conspired with these leaders of the firm on what was important to them—making the firm a success.
Mentoring is a very deliberate activity that requires people to check their ego at the door, hold back from resenting other people’s success, and consciously strive to build beneficial relationships whenever the opportunity arises.
There were two crucial components that makes any mentorship, for that matter—successful. He offered his guidance because, for one, I promised something in return. I worked nonstop in an effort to use the knowledge he was imparting to make him, and his firm, more successful. And two, we created a situation that went beyond utility. Pat liked me and became emotionally invested in my advancement. He cared about me. That’s the key to a successful mentorship. A successful mentoring relationship needs equal parts utility and emotion. You can’t simply ask somebody to be personally invested in you. There has to be some reciprocity involved—whether its hard work or loyalty that you give in return—that gets someone to invest in you in the first place.
The best way to approach utility is to give help first, and not ask for it. If there is someone whose knowledge you need, find a way to be of use to that person. Consider their needs and how you can assist them. If you can’t help them specifically, perhaps you can contribute to their charity, company, or community. You have to be prepared to give back to your mentors and have them know that from the outset. Before Pat would consider having dinner with me three times a year, he had to know that I would be committed to his firm. That’s how I found myself so early on in a trusted position that later turned into a friendship.
But as my father taught me, mentors are all around you. It’s not necessarily your boss or even someone in your business. Mentoring is a nonhierarchical activity that transcends careers and can cross all organizational levels.
How many people can walk into our homes and just open up the fridge and help themselves? Not many. People need “refrigerator rights relationships,” the kind that are comfortable, informal, and intimate enough to let us walk into one another’s kitchens and rummage through the refrigerator without asking. It is close relationships like these that keep us well-adjusted, happy, and successful.
Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time
To pull people into my dinner parties that would otherwise not come, I developed a helpful little concept I call the “anchor tenant.” Every individual within a particular peer set has a bridge to someone outside his or her own group of friends. We all have, to some degree or another, developed relationships with older, wiser, more experienced people; they may be our mentors, our parents’ friends, our teachers, our rabbis and reverends, our bosses.
I call them anchor tenants; their value comes from the simple fact that they are, in relation to one’s core group of friends, different.
Frankly, anyone who can add a little electricity to your dinner party is an anchor tenant. Journalists, I’ve found, are terrific anchor guests. They aren’t particularly well paid (which makes them a sucker for a free meal), their profession has a good deal of intrigue, they are always on the lookout for good material and see such dinners as a potential venue for new ideas, they’re generally good conversationalists, and many folks enjoy an opportunity to get their ideas heard by someone who might publicize them to a larger audience. Artists and actors, famous or not, fall into the same category. On those occasions when you can’t land as big a fish as you might have liked, you can try to pull in a person with proximity to power: a political consultant to an interesting politician, the COO of an interesting company under an interesting CEO, and so on. In these cases, it’s about brand association.
You see, there’s only one real rule to these get-togethers: Have fun. All right, there are a few other rules that might help you along the way. Among them: 1. Create a theme. There is no reason that a small dinner party should not have a theme. One simple idea can help you pull the food and atmosphere together.
2. Use invitations. While I’m all for slapdash impromptu parties, the dinner parties that will be most successful will be those you’ve devoted some time and energy to. Whether by phone, e-mail, or handwritten note, be sure to get your invites out early—at least a month in advance—so people can have a chance to plan accordingly—and so you’ll know who is and who is not coming.
3. Don’t be a kitchen slave. There’s no sense in a party being all work. If you can’t hire a caterer, either cook all the food ahead of time or just use takeout. If the food is good and the presentation snazzy, your guests will be impressed.
4. Create atmosphere. Make sure to spend an hour or two gussying up your place. Nothing expensive or out of the ordinary, mind you. Candles, flowers, dim lighting, and music set a good mood.
5. Forget being formal. Most dinner parties don’t call for anything fancy. Follow the KISS principle (Keep It Simple, Silly). Good food. Good people. Lots of wine. Good conversation. That’s a successful dinner party. I always underdress just so no one else feels they did. Jeans and a jacket are my standard fare, but you judge for yourself.
6. Don’t seat couples together. The essence of a good dinner party lies in seating everyone properly. If you seat couples together, things can get boring. Mix and match, putting people together who don’t know each other but perhaps share an interest of some kind. I like to set placeholders where I want people to sit. Each placeholder is a simple card with the guest’s name on it. If I have the time, I love to put an interesting question or joke on the back of the card that guests can use to break the ice with one another. Or you can go out and buy funny greeting cards just to make things interesting.
7. Relax. Guests take their cues from the host—if you’re having fun, odds are that they will, too. The night of the party, your job is to enjoy all the fruits of your labor.
Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time by Keith Ferrazzi, Tahl Raz
“We all are learning, modifying, or destroying ideas all the time. Rapid destruction of your ideas when the time is right is one of the most valuable qualities you can acquire. You must force yourself to consider arguments on the other side.
— Charles T. Munger”
Click to set custom HTML
Disclosure of Material Connection:
Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”