A consistent message in the world of networking is that if you want to get things from those in your network, you need to resolve to give first.
Now if you are focused on giving so you get from our network, great. But the fact of the matter is that if this is the only reason you are giving, you are only half way home. To totally surrender to the notion that “Givers Get” you need to give for no other reason than it is the right thing to do.
Give first; get second
The starting point or foundation for this mindset is being thoughtful. This is simply the act of focusing on ways in which you can be considerate of the feelings of others (whether you know them or not) and finding ways you can have a positive impact on their lives.
In his book, Winning Without Intimidation, Bob Burg discusses the fine act of thoughtfulness. Burg indicates that although this does not necessarily come naturally, being thoughtful is a simple idea that requires really no incredible skills.
Thoughtfulness requires little skill
Drawing on a story by William A. Ward in the book, The Best Of Bits & Pieces, Burg maintains that being thoughtful is nothing more than a habit and encompasses such occasional and basic acts as:
- Holding a door open for someone;
- Paying a well-deserved compliment; or
- Parking a bit farther from the entrance (leaving closer spaces for those who cannot get around as easily).
These represent just a tiny portion of an almost endless list of examples of being thoughtful. If you focus on being thoughtful towards others, eventually it becomes a habit. You seemingly ask how someone is doing. You gravitate towards the person in the room who looks as if they feel out of place. And being willing to sit and listen to someone, even though you have other pressing things to do.
Thoughtfulness is a gift from the heart
Burg indicates that these acts of thoughtfulness may or may not be noticed. But as he also indicates, it does not matter. What is important is that you continue to be thoughtful. If nothing else, this will warm your soul with good feelings.
Eventually and occasionally, however, your thoughtfulness evolves into larger deeds. You go out of your way to obtain a referral for someone. You devote an entire lunch to introducing two people and your benefit from the union is a warm fuzzy feeling inside.
Frank Agin is the founder and president of AmSpirit Business Connections. In addition, Frank is the author of Foundational Networking: Building Know, Like and Trust To Create A Lifetime of Extraordinary Success and the co-author of LinkedWorking: Generating Success on the World’s Largest Professional Networking Website and The Champion: Finding the Most Valuable Person in Your Network.