As promised, this is the second part of the entry focusing on the workshop run by Michael Ellsberg. If you have missed the first part, have a read and understand the context.
Here’s again, what you want to know about Michael.
Michael Ellsberg, the author of The Education of Millionaires: It’s Not What You Think, and It’s Not Too Late and blogger at Forbes.com was invited to conduct a training for the Thiel Fellows on networking. The video of the training is as shown below and I have consolidated Ellsberg’s advice and beefed it up further with my thoughts and experiences about networking. Note that the context of the training is to network effectively to recruit mentors.
Video as embedded below again for your viewing.
Advice #2 – Give Connections
By connections, Ellsberg refers to human connections or quite simply, introductions to other people. In the world of sales for example, people don’t just buy what you sell but more often than not, people buy who you are as a person first. The likelihood of prospects (i.e. potential customers) translating into clients making actual sales often correspond to the “warmth” of a contact – from cold prospects with no or minimal interaction to warm prospects to “hot” prospects who are ready “flip”, into a sale generating client of course.
Similarly, the importance of helping your mentor or the person you meet during networking get acquainted with the people they desire to meet cannot be more overstated because you are in some ways, “bringing warmth” to this otherwise “cold relationship” which they would establish had they gone out to meet the desired person all on their own. Not impossible, but definitely not as expedient as you being the “relationship broker”.
This relationship that has been “brokered” by you can elevate in its potential value if you could quite openly establish the possible agenda at the onset so that there will not be an imbalance of expectations.
The imbalance occurs when Person A whom you want to connect with Person B, has all or a lot more to gain than Person B in that connection. That happens when Person B is more established, powerful and resourceful. A possible pair could be like Person A being a young entrepreneur needing business advice and Person B being a retired industry magnate. Oftentimes, the truth is Person B often receives by their act of giving advice, resources or even more connections. What do they then receive in return? Intangible satisfaction in seeing another young one succeed or get ahead in their endeavors.
Of course, we have come quite realistically to the crux in this doing –
“What’s in it for me?”
If you have read Zahir by Paulo Coelho, the term “favor bank” is spoken of as an almost esoteric yet commonly manifested phenomenon. Imagine a bank where the currency is not in monetary units but of “favors”. Every time you do a favor for someone else, you deposit a value that commensurate to the value perceived by the other person in this joint bank account. When you have deposited enough value through the repeated transactions of favour, the other person is then obliged to return you in favor when you make a withdrawal.
The magic and sheer beauty of being a relationship broker especially when you are an effective one, is that you are making concurrent deposits into the joint “favor bank” accounts with both persons you are helping. When you do this often enough, you will come to realize people around you will be more than glad to support you in whatever you do.
I would also be unsurprised that some of you may dismiss this concept and reduce this “whole networking thing” into a “tit for tat” and “calculative numbers” game. While you are not entirely wrong because the fact is that all relationships are based on mutual exchanges, what you may miss out on is that there can be also much intangible value like immense joy in just seeing people get what they desire through your connection even if you have no immediate gain from doing so.
Advice #3 – Willingness to bust your ass off while putting their advice into practice
This is quite commonsensical but as most people know, common sense is not that common after all. Ellsberg said that,
“Successful people want to leave a legacy, want to see more people use what they learned”
and there is this element of how mentors to a certain level, want to “live vicariously” through your deeds. Hence, the last thing you want to do tell your potential mentor after he asked you how about your past month has gone with his heart-to-heart sharing at the café is “I’m sorry but what exactly do you refer to?”
There are many reasons as to why mentors or gurus for that matter, would want to support young and brilliant protégés – to continue their lineage legacy, to experience the joy of seeing his young one succeed, to pass on the light that he has received from his own mentor or in its simplest terms, just to see the world being a better place through you as the vehicle of action.
Hence, nuff’ said. Got your piece of advice from that esteemed mentor of yours?
Now go make miracles happen.
For anything short of it, you’re not honoring your mentor and more so, yourself.