The First Rule When Networking With People

Picture of two people talkingMany times, people begin a project or a task without considering the purpose or desired outcome. From time to time, I will go to a fast-food restaurant. I realize that the food is generally not 100% organic. The menu does not have steak and lobster or fine wine. When I go to a fast food restaurant, I am not there for the excellent cuisine. I have one desired outcome – a full belly. More often than not, that is exactly what I get.

What happens when you work with someone who desires an outcome that opposes your own? At the very least, it can lead to frustration. If you go to a fast- food restaurant and you encounter an employee who desires only a paycheck, it is quite likely that the service you receive will be substandard. I am not suggesting for even a moment that employees should not seek a paycheck. In fact, my first job in high school was in the fast-food industry and I learned many valuable lessons. However, if an employee is focused only on a paycheck, then the only time he or she feels “successful” is payday. In the 1980’s when the minimum wage was only $3.50, the happiness of a restaurant paycheck was fleeting at best. Even though the wages have increased, the measure of happiness from a fast-food paycheck is just as temporary.

My experience working in a fast-food restaurant was mostly pleasant. As a high school student, I had three goals that kept me engaged. The paycheck was only one goal. This goal directly benefited two entities – first FICA and then me. Secondly, I wanted to help the business. My diligence helped the company to be more productive and profitable. They liked me so much that I quickly became the only one allowed to take out the trash – at least it seemed that way. Finally, I had a goal to serve the customers. I truly believed in the golden rule. If my friends stopped by to eat, I would gladly give them more food than they purchased. After all, that’s what I would want them to do for me.

Guilt Insurance

Even though I was slightly misguided, I was truly involved in mutually beneficial transactions. I have learned since the days of high school to grow beyond mutually beneficial deals. It was mutually beneficial to my friends and me to give away free food. I got the recognition I was seeking and they often returned the favor when I visited the restaurant on their shift. From the employer’s perspective, however, it was just plain stealing. I have adopted the philosophy taught by Napoleon Hill in his famous book, “Think and Grow Rich.” It says, “I will engage in no transaction that does not benefit all whom it affects.”

I call this Guilt Insurance. As long as I live by this philosophy, I sleep well at night. I never worry about remembering who heard my comments because I make an extra effort to exchange words that will benefit all whom they affect. In any business endeavor, there are three ways to weigh the benefits:

The Con

All for you and none for others. If you are short sighted, you may consider this to be the makings of a good deal. While I am highly in favor of getting a good deal, this scenario does not fit my description of one. In fact, this is the essence of what I call a genuine scam. One reason Ponzi schemes and pyramid schemes are harmful is that some of the unsuspecting “investors” are guaranteed a loss by definition. The money people receive comes from “investors” who are being cheated instead of from real profits. The hidden hook is greed that induces someone to throw away money in one of these scams. People who live this way are con artists.

The Victim

All for others and none for you. Some people are in the habit of contributing without expecting a benefit. Giving is an important part of life. The reality is, often times the donor does realize some benefit, even if it is not immediate or tangible. One example is a tax deduction for any monetary gifts. Other benefits may be emotional, such as a feeling of fulfillment or altruism. When you realize none of these benefits and the “benefits” go to others, you are commonly known as a victim. Some are victims by circumstance; others are victims by choice.

Win Win

Benefits for all involved. This is what Mr. Hill refers to in “Think and Grow Rich.” In this book, I refer to this as rule number one in networking.

If you are truly a Networker (not a con artist looking for victims) you will live by this creed; I will engage in no transaction that does not benefit all whom it affects. Seeking to benefit all parties involved allows you to network with confidence. You never think twice about asking for anything. You never hesitate to offer assistance. Deep down, you realize that if the person says yes to your proposed business connection, they will benefit as much as you do, if not more. I highly recommend this “Guilt Protection” to insure your network before you build it. This policy virtually guarantees your success.

Kenny Mitchell is our first guest post and is the co-founder of Real Skill Builders, a company that helps individuals and organizations to harness greater productivity through the understanding and application of fundamental success principles applicable in business and in life. Real Skill Builders delivers informative training workshops and lively keynote addresses for businesses and organizations. Learn more at http://www.realskillbuilders.com, call 866-389-0579 or email info@realskillbuilders.com
Photo Credit: The US National Archives

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