Up until July 27th, I thought I was a kickass networker. Because I can talk to a brick wall, I thought I had all the tools I needed to make connections and get ahead in business. Ummmmmmm, that’s a joke.
After my second trip to the CreativeLive studio in San Francisco, I was (once again) blown away by the amount of knowledge I was given. My networking game was WAY off and I had no idea. Jordan Harbinger, AJ Harbinger, and Johnny Dzubak were the teachers of our class, The Art of Networking. They are the masterminds behind the Art of Charm and have an amazing podcast that you should check out right this second.
They started off the day by asking our small group of eager students who actually enjoyed networking. I’m pretty sure I was the only one who raised my hand. “Pshh I got this,” I whispered to myself. As an extrovert in a room full of introverts, I felt like a friggin’ stud. “I’m getting an A+ in this class for sure,” I spoke to myself again, obviously making zero friends at this point.
After the basics were covered, Jordan and his leather shirt blew me away with the idea of ABG: Always be giving. This was a phenomenon that I had never thought of when it comes to networking. To me, the phrase “it’s just business, it’s not personal” was branded into my mind along with “it’s a dog-eat-dog world.” Basically, I was under the impression that the only way to make money was by being a selfish asshole.
The Art of Charm guys went on to explain how making connections is not always about you and that you need to mix generosity and networking. If you meet a graphic designer but have no need for one at the moment, think of someone you can hook them up with. If you have a friend in mind, ask the two parties if it’s OK for you to connect them via e-mail and send an introduction! He mentioned that we shouldn’t hoard our contacts because then we’re not putting our networking to good use.
He also suggested that we not expect anything in return. If we set up someone with a cool job interview, don’t expect a favor or connection as a result of it. Facilitate and share relationships without having a selfish mindset. Karma goes a long way.
It really sucks when you come to the realization that you’ve been a self-centered brat, but that’s exactly how I’ve been acting when it comes to networking. From now on, my goal is to look at networking as a way to help others, instead of just promoting myself. Hopefully I’ll build up some business points with the Big Guy Upstairs! 😉
If you want more nuggets of wisdom about getting ahead in business as a millennial, check out my article on 5 Ways to Become a Leader in the Office (Even if You’re the Youngest). You can also purchase The Art of Networking on CreativeLive and catch me on camera!
P.S. I want to thank CreativeLive and The Art of Charm guys for being so cool. If you live in the San Francisco area, I highly recommend signing up for a CreativeLive class in the future. You get to grab a beer with your biggest idols and talk shop!