Reading the book Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh, the founder of Zappos and this book has been changing my mindset in so many things. One of the things that it has is in the area of networking. I often hear the word NETWORK in many gatherings. “Network with other people and exchange business cards, blah,blah,blah” and I could not pinpoint why I was uneasy with the practice so I just try to do what other people would do – which is to network traditionally. While reading the book, I realized that the people I work with now are people who I didn’t really tried to network with for the reason of trying to get something from them but because we just clicked as people/ friends.
Here is Tony Hsieh’s excerpt found in Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose, page 81.
I personally really dislike “business networking” events. At almost every one of these events, it seems like the goal is to walk around and find people to trade business cards with, with the hope of meeting someone who can help you out in business and in exchange you can help that person somehow.
I generally try to avoid those types of events, and I rarely carry any business cards around with me.
Instead, I really prefer to focus on just building relationships and getting to know people as just people, regardless of their position in the business world or even if they’re not from the business world. I believe that there’s something interesting about anyone and everyone–you just have to figure out what that something interesting is. If anything, I’ve found that it’s more interesting to build relationships with people that are NOT in the business world because they almost always can offer unique perspectives and insights, and also because those relationships tend to be more genuine.
If you are able to figure out how to be truly interested in someone you meet, with the goal of building up a friendship instead of trying to get something out of that person, the funny thing is that almost always, something happens later down the line that ends up benefiting either your business or yourself personally.
I don’t really know why this happens or why it works, but it seems that the benefit from getting to know someone on a personal level usually happens 2-3 years after you started working on building the relationship. And it’s usually something that you could not have possibly predicted would have happened at the beginning of the relationship….