Givers, Takers, and Matchers
As we learned yesterday, building a network takes consistent effort, similar to planting a tree. The tree only grows if the gardener consistently waters and nurtures it. The tree will take time to grow, and it’s uncertain if the tree will survive to provide the gardener with shade. Despite this, the gardener continues to nurture the tree.
Successful connectors are like gardeners, but instead of nurturing plants, they nurture people by helping them grow and providing solutions to their problems without the expectation of something in return. In Adam Grant’s book, Give and Take, he calls these people Givers.
Unlike Matchers, who give only when they receive, or Takers, who suck people dry, Givers have no intention of receiving anything from those who benefit from their help. According to Give and Take, all the help a Giver provides to their network creates a rising tide of success that results in the Giver out-performing Takers and Matchers.
The Connector’s Toolbox
How can we give to others when we think we have nothing to offer? Mistakenly, many people think that in order to build a network, one must be inherently charismatic, held in high esteem, or have tons of money. Luckily, that isn’t the case. In their book, Influence Without Authority, Allan Cohen and David Bradford argue that people focus too narrowly on the tangible assets they value, instead of the intangibles that others value.
The Connector’s Toolbox has five tools you can use to give to others without requiring anything but your own effort. They are:
💁 Expertise: Apply your skills to help someone solve their problem. If you’re a great editor, maybe you can help a nonprofit with their communications. Are you awesome at Excel? Maybe you can help someone set up a spreadsheet.
👥 Mentorship: Listen to the person and provide counsel or resources to help them solve their problem. You can share your experiences with others to help them work through their problems or just listen to them so they have a confidant.
😅 Sweat equity: Offer extra hands on someone’s project or find information (articles, book recommendations, etc.) to help them when you lack expertise. It’s a great way to get started networking, learn new things, and cement a relationship.
🤝 Introductions: Facilitate introductions between two or more people who can help either person further their goals. The caveat is that you’re tapping into someone else’s ability to help, not your own. You must be careful not to take advantage of your connections. In later lessons, I will explain how to do this correctly so it doesn’t backfire.
🙇 Gratitude: Show people who have impacted your life that you appreciate them. Writing a thoughtful thank you note can do a lot to make you feel happier and the person you’re thanking appreciated. Later in the course, I will teach you how to write an excellent thank you note.
Next time you meet someone, remember the Connector’s Toolbox and think of ways you can apply it toward your relationship.
Giving Is Great, But Too Much Can Cause Burn Out
It’s important to keep in mind that you can only give if you have the bandwidth to do so. Focusing all your time giving without taking care of yourself can cause burn out. Block time for your giving activities so they don’t dominate your calendar, and if you can, give in micro doses.
Adam Rifkin, for example, practices the five-minute favor. If he can help someone in less than five minutes, he does it. For requests that would take more than five minutes, he must contemplate whether he’s the best person for this favor. An example of a five-minute favor would be introducing two friends to each other, knowing that this introduction would help both of them achieve their career goals. Another example could be sharing a friend’s blog post on social media so their work will be seen by more people—this could really lift your friend’s spirits and help them feel validated.
Practice exercise for giving:
1. Take 15 minutes to think of at least five people you can help by using the Connector’s Toolbox.
2. Write a sentence or two on how you can help each of them.
3. Schedule time to help those you mentioned.
You probably thought of multiple people to help in your network, but odds are, you won’t be able to remember everyone in your network who needs help. Tomorrow, I will show you how to build a Network Tracker.
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