Episode 6 – Power of networking and how to do it smart!
Learn the power of ‘Networking’. Unconventional wisdom to network effectively and have the greatest impact. Learn how to offer both performance and time advantage to your networking skills. Ask what matters to your network and add value accordingly.
Rajesh: This is Rajesh Setty I am a serial entrepreneur.
Ravi: And the topic we just picked literally 5 seconds before, is networking.
Rajesh: I am excited about this topic because, Ravi, this is one of those topics that everybody knows, that building good relationships is extremely important, but it’s rarely taught in school.
Ravi: Exactly. You’re taught to form groups to do projects, where that relationship is very end-goal driven, and after the project you are taught to form teams that are very specific task focused but not taught to create good relationships with people that the network becomes your net worth, over time.
Rajesh: Beautifully said. Your network is your net worth.
Ravi: Correct. Correct.
Rajesh: Very nicely said.
Ravi: In fact, I remember… I think it was Reid Hoffman. In one of the blogs he said 10-15 years ago you were significant or no one based on what you know. 5-6 years ago, it’s about who you know. But today the significance comes from who knows you.
Rajesh: Yeah, yeah. I read about that and I always had an addition to it. Who knows you and how do they know you, what do they know you as.
Ravi: What do they know you as. Correct.
Ravi: Who knows you and what do they know you as.
Ravi: Correct, because…
Rajesh: … because the identifiers that they use in their mind when they are introducing you to someone, that becomes very important. That for me is the core of your personal branding that is built on your accomplishments and contributions. When somebody says, “Ravi is an amazing mentor” is different from saying, “Ravi is trying to be a mentor”. So, the [crosstalk]…
Ravi: Yeah. And also somebody saying that Ravi is a nice guy.
Ravi: Fine. If that’s what you want to be known for, fine. But, I think you are making a very interesting, that you have to watch how others are talking about you…
Rajesh: Yeah, especially when you are not there.
Ravi: … when you are not there, of course, if that’s possible. But, it’s very important. So, I think, coming back to the topic that we chose, I think building a network should be completely driven out of shared interests…
Ravi: … and shared passions and aligned thinking with people, should not be a task or a specific goal driven…
Ravi: That becomes very opportunistic.
Ravi: True networks are built because we genuinely like each other and we just want to stay in touch.
Rajesh: Correct. So, I go back… as you know, I wrote a book called “Lasting relationships” and this was the topic. It’s downloaded thousands of times and I’ll say some of the things that I did some research and found out. I found in my little research that the core of building a good relationship is caring. So, you have to care for what the other person is caring about as if it’s your own. In that, the start of there, I always think how do you know what to care about. It starts with listening.
Ravi: Correct. You’ve to know what are the person cares about.
Rajesh: Exactly. So, you become a good listener, is there, and caring has to be genuine. So, it should not be like a superficial thing. It should not be like a fair weather friend that if everything is going well, I’m there with them. If trouble comes, I run far away, kind of thing. So, if you are genuinely caring, you won’t do it. You are there with them throughout the journey. Now, I see that there are three ways a person can impact another person. I call it Delta P, Delta T, and Delta P Delta T. I will explain what it is.
Ravi: So, your situation is, you are in a conference, there are a bunch of people and you are going to explain these three rules. Okay, go ahead.
Rajesh: There are three ways they can impact. Actually, there are six ways. The other three ways you should not be doing. That is negative of Delta P, Delta T and Delta P Delta T. Delta P is…
Ravi: This is very mathematical, by the way.
Rajesh: Because [crosstalk] I am an engineer, right?
Ravi: Really cool. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Rajesh: Delta P is a performance advantage. You can give the other person a performance advantage. That means, without you, they couldn’t have performed and they would have gone somewhere. You give them an edge so that they can perform even better, the small delta.
Ravi: So, you are giving the other person a performance advantage…
Ravi: … in their interaction, okay.
Rajesh: Exactly. Like for example, they are going ahead with their life, they are building a company and then they would have meet five million dollars a year, on their own, with their current network. You come in. You are so insightful, you start giving them ideas, making connections and you are doing all sorts of things. Suddenly, because you are there, they can make six million dollars a year.
Ravi: Good. So, Delta P is, because of you, somebody is doing better.
Ravi: That’s a good network rule.
Rajesh: Correct. [crosstalk] That’s how you [inaudible 05:24].
Ravi: You want to add value to the other person.
Rajesh: Exactly. Delta T is very simple. You give them a time advantage. Because time is everything. So, let’s say, in the next 3 years, they would have made five million dollars. You come in. You just do all sorts of things, and in two years, they will reach that goal. That means, you gave them a time edge.
Ravi: You are uplifting or accelerating their journey.
Rajesh: Exactly. [crosstalk]
Ravi: Okay. Time advantage.
Rajesh: It could be as simple as you are giving them some ideas so that they become more productive, and they can do more things. Whatever it is, either you got a performance advantage or a time advantage. The better one is, give them both so they would have made five million dollars in three years. Now, they can make six million dollars in two years.
Ravi: Correct. [crosstalk] They got both.
Rajesh: You got them both the ends. The other three things are exactly opposite. So, basically you…
Rajesh: The next step is… the other three things Ravi are exactly the opposite. They would have made five million dollars in one year. You come in. You become a drag on them. And then, you suddenly find that they are making only four million because you are there, because you are dragging them back.
Ravi: Yeah, again, it makes sense that… I want take it back to how to help people create better networks. So, in interactions, you’re not taking performance away from them, you’re giving them performance.
Ravi: You’re not taking time away from them, you are giving them time, and both will happen when… because I can’t make everybody make from five to six million. Everybody cannot do that.
Rajesh: Correct. Exactly.
Ravi: So, what are the little things that you can add performance?
Rajesh: Very simply, Ravi. Basically, the first is, if you listen, you will know what matters most to the other person.
Ravi: Correct. What they are thinking about, what is their issues.
Rajesh: Exactly. So, one thing is that you’d have to have the hunger to know what matters most to this person and that has to be in your RAM. Random Access Memory. That means, all your close friends, if I ask you, “What do you know about them?” If you start saying, “I know when is there birthday, when is there anniversary, when is their kid’s birthday”, those are all good.
Ravi: Those are all facts.
Rajesh: Those are all facts. But, I would be really delighted, if you say, “I know what matters to Bob”, “I know what matters to Becky”, “I know what matters to Rebecca”. This is where I am going, cuz if you have it in your memory all the time, so when you see an article, when you see another person who can be give them an edge, you will start thinking, “This person wanted to write a book. Here is an agent that I met. I think they both should talk”.
Ravi: So, you are thinking, in any interaction, at a conference for example, if you have got to be a good listener and then you are not, you are first finding out what matters most to them. And in the conversation, you want to really capture those and when we go home, we say, “Hey, Rajesh. It was great meeting you. Oh, by the way, you mentioned that you are very interested in education charities. You should talk to this person”.
Rajesh: That’s one way to do it. I don’t think… it’s unlikely that the first time you meet the person, and you start doing all these things… first thing that people will think, “What’s the agenda for Ravi here? Why is he doing all these things?” So, …
Ravi: Oh, you don’t want to be overtly…
Rajesh: Yeah. In parallel, you have to build trust with them that you care. Somehow, you have to demonstrate that you care and that can happen if you are genuinely caring for them. That will show. Just like, if you are genuinely listening, they will reveal what matters most to them. If you are genuinely caring, they will know when you all talk that this person cares for me, because without that, if you don’t take the first step and you start taking step two, step three, they will start… become suspicious because it’s not common for people to help… just to start helping people. So, they have to trust. They should know that there is no other agenda, this person wants to be helpful.
Ravi: Correct. And it’s very counterintuitive of rebuilding a network, right? Because, people think, if you would look good… they are very basic, right? People think, “Oh, networking… you go introduce yourself, you have a two-minute elevator pitch, you have your business card, have a firm shake, handshake”. But, those are all sort of…
Ravi: … mechanics of the networking, right? So, what is interesting that is coming out, during the conversation here, is not the mechanics part of it but more…
Ravi: … the foundational elements networking, is that you want the other person to feel good. First of all, the conversation has to be mutual.
Ravi: You can’t just go to somebody, talk a whole lot, and then leave, and the other guy is like, “What’s this guy saying?”
Ravi: So, you want to make it mutual. That means, you have to be listening…
Ravi: … in the act of listening, and I heard you say…
Rajesh: What [crosstalk] matters most.
Ravi: … in that act of listening, capture what matters most to them, and then genuinely make sure that if you do something in that space that they are interested to receive.
Rajesh: You said it exactly right, Ravi, because sometimes, people are very careful about their space that “this is my space” and who they will let in into that space depends on how much trust they have in the person that they are letting into the space. You have to first get permission to enter their private space.
Ravi: Yeah, I know. I heard this word called ‘the privacy bubble’.
Ravi: People are saying, “You have entered the privacy bubble”.
Rajesh: Correct. So, basically, what matters most to them is very close to their heart, and they would want to know that you care enough, and you are a good person, and you have no other agenda but to help, and then they will let you into that private space.
Ravi: They let you even help them, right?
Ravi: Because they don’t want get from random person.
Rajesh: Exactly. Correct.
Ravi: So, you have to make sure that you don’t say, “Oh, I know this person”, and you are like a typical person who is just very enthusiastic to help.
Ravi: But what I am hearing you say is, help those that are ready to receive.
Rajesh: Exactly. There is another reason why I said it should not be that quick. The reason is Fred Wilson, that we see from Union Square Ventures. He wrote a phenomenal blog post called “Double opt in method”. Double opt in method…
Ravi: Double opt in. Oh, wow.
Rajesh: Double opt in method is, suppose, I want to introduce you to someone, let’s say, Roger. I have to first say, “Do you want an introduction to Roger?”, and then you will ask me, “Who is Roger?” or “What is the relevance?”, and then I go to Roger and say, “Can I introduce you to Ravi?” Then he will ask me, “Who is Ravi?”, “What is the relevance?” and everything. If you got opt in, then the introduction is most fruitful, because you both agreed to be introduced. The problem with meeting a person at a conference and say, “I will introduce you”, the person who you are introducing them to, when they ask you a question about who you met at the conference, unless the person you met has huge accomplishments, then they will say, “You just meet him and you want me to give him my mind share and the time, energy?” Everything will look a little bit artificial. So, that’s why, in order to build a relationship a little bit deeper, and then so you get to know them, and you know that neither party you are introducing, will take advantage of each other.
Ravi: I must say that, Rajesh, you are so good at this, because I see that every introduction you make, the other person already knows about me and same thing, I know about them. So, I think, you are practically applying the Double opt in method.
Rajesh: Yeah, I was always doing it, when Fred Wilson defined it as Double opt in because all of us geeks, right?
Ravi: Yes, you want those terms.
Rajesh: Yeah, it became very simple.
Ravi: I think, it’s a very important element. So, when people are trying to expand their network, you want to make yourself, be significant, be a value to other people, because that’s when your network grows, cuz you are a significant part of that community.
Rajesh: Yeah, it all starts, Ravi, for me, is how you approach a new introduction. When you approach a new introduction, what do you think is the timeline you are looking at? Are you looking at “What can I get” or “What can I give” in the next three months? Or, will you extend it beyond 10 years? I always have a 10-year time or a lifetime of things. Suppose, I met with you a few years ago. I was not thinking, “What can we do tomorrow morning?” I was thinking, “If we build a good relationship, what can Ravi and I do together, so that we have a positive possibility in each other’s future until the end of one person dying?” Right?
Ravi: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Rajesh: We all know that you don’t want a ghost relationship, right? So, I always look at the lifetime because the moment you extend the time horizon, even the thought of taking advantage, will not even enter the mind, because it’s for the lifetime. Why would you do anything in the short term?
Ravi: It’s interesting. So, as we get closer to the end of this amazing topic, I’m actually thinking that platforms like LinkedIn… are they really professional networks, or are they professional acquaintances?
Rajesh: Yeah, LinkedIn is a great tool to get to know who is in the network. So, I have always written about it extensively. Just because you are connected, does not give you the entitlement to make requests. Connection isn’t open. To make request, you have to deserve it. So, LinkedIn is a great… “I know them, and Ravi knows this person”, but I have to deserve an introduction for me to make a request to you, and say, “Ravi, can you connect me to this person?” So, the tools are tools. How you use it, and the way LinkedIn is setup to use, I don’t think, it… nobody rarely use this. It’s like, if you are connected to everybody, everybody is connected to everybody, in the world. If you want an introduction to Barack Obama, President Obama, you can talk to someone, and he will talk to someone, he will talk to someone, finally President will meet with you. That’s like too much theoretical for me. In real life, what works, the tools like this will accelerate.
Ravi: Correct. The fact that there’s a connection… but I think people should not misinterpret that I have a thousand connections on LinkedIn, so, I have a big network, because net worth will be zero if nobody is willing to give, nobody is willing to make introduction, because you haven’t done your homework of being significant that when you make a request, somebody responded right away. So, I think one of the fundamental elements is not how many people you know, but how many people know you as someone who is significant, as someone that is trustworthy, and someone that they can call on, as someone that they will respond to, if you ever make a request.
Rajesh: Yeah, the speed with which your requests are answered is where the power lies because the only way you can do it is you have to make sure that you do only the right requests, because my friend… I won’t name him here… he always tells that he has a 99% hit rate of all his requests being answered, and he says that’s because he makes only a very few requests, and he will think 50 times before making that request because he wants to make sure that the other person feels that this was a right request, and it has the right timing, and it is of value to that other person. But, very few people think like that. If they have a number and a name, they will say, “I will just call him because he is my friend”, not knowing that the friend has 50,000 other requests coming his or her way, and this is one of the many request that they are fielding.
Ravi: So, again, just because you are connected to somebody on LinkedIn, doesn’t automatically increase the net worth of your network. So, I think, in closing, when you are building a network, think about what is it that you bring to the table, and make sure that you are deserving, and you are able to help other people. And that’s when people start inviting you to their higher and higher networks.
Rajesh: Very good. In closing, all I can say is, we can go back to the old adage, “What you sow is what you reap”. And this is… perfectly applies to building your network and building relationships. The more you put into the network, the more there are chances that, that is reciprocation to come back and make you a better person.
Ravi: Fantastically closed statement. The more you put into the network, the more you have the option to draw from.
Ravi: So, the magic is, you deposit first, you contribute first. You give before you get [crosstalk], right?
Ravi: Fantastic. Again another Spontaneous Conversation, episode number six, I think, and Rajesh, thank you. And you can learn more about Ravi, on a website at mentorcloud.com.
Rajesh: And Rajesh signing off here, and you can learn more about me on my website rajeshsetty.com/blog.
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