In Liz Lynch’s excellent book, Smart Networking: Attract A Following In Person And Online, she points out that when first meeting someone, the typical person is forming their first impressions of the other by silently assessing:
- Is this person interesting?
- Is she someone I should get to know better?
- Does she have knowledge or skills that can help me or someone I know?
- Is there any way that I can help her?
After discussing this a bit, she makes a hugely powerful point:
“The most generous networkers will unconsciously start their wheels turning with the last question and work their way backwards to the other questions.”
Right on, Liz Lynch! The only thing I’m going to suggest (and this is just me) is that we might even replace the word “generous” with the word, “astute.” But, either one certainly works.
When you can put the other person first in your own mind and actually take your eyes off of yourself (Thomas Power, in his terrific book, Networking for Life, refers to this concept as, “the willing suspension of self-interest”) you are networking in a way that not only will benefit the other person but will benefit you, as well.
Let’s discuss this more in the next article. First, though, may I ask you why you think Liz has it right?