You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.
To get what we want in life, we all need to meet new people. If we want people to help us get what we want, we need to help them get what they want. Many people make two mistakes when they think about building out their network (social circle).
1. They connect with as many people as possible.
2. They focus on what they can get.
When you meet people, you have to start from the outside and move in. At the Covenant Group we teach two principles:
1. Focus on the other person.
2. Earn the right to proceed.
While there are a number of ways to focus on the other person, the two most straight forward approaches are:
1. Find ways to help the other person.
2. Ask interesting questions.
It might seem counter-intuitive but focusing on the other person is how you get what you want. When you open any conversation focus on the other person. At the start of every conversation we ask, “What would make this call valuable for you?” This makes focusing on the other person our default. If you start every conversation in a similar way, you always start by focusing on the other person. You make them the centre of attention.
There are three further ways you can be strategic in focusing on the other person.
1. Ask questions that teach you about their values.
2. Focus on identifying segue points; places where you can direct the conversation where you would like it to go.
3. Find a way to help the person.
Notice that none of this is about me. I’m being very intentional about focusing on the other person. The goal is to earn the right to proceed and to set the foundation for a meaningful long-term relationship.
If we want people to help us get what we want, we need to help them get what they want.
In focusing on the other person, you gather information about who they are and how you might help. You build trust. You create segue points from which you can then take the conversation in a direction you wish to take. Most importantly, you earn the right to proceed.
You can take this even further by asking interesting, not predictable questions. Ask what helps you find out what the person truly values. You might, for example, ask, “At this stage of your life, what’s most meaningful for you?” Another approach might be to say, “Suppose you had a magical solution to your problem. Describe what that might look like.”
Here you are trying to unearth two things: what the person values and what their goals are. (What do they want out of life?) You become interesting by being interested. You build networks by focusing on the other person and earning the right to proceed.
I have told people that my wealth is my network. After my health, it is my most valuable asset. If I lost everything I had today but still had my network, I know I could rebuild. So, when you think about building your network, consider the lessons above. They may just help as you develop your greatest asset, your network.