Understanding an important philosophy based on the law of reciprocity can make your networking far more powerful, but only when self applied.
Click on the graphic above, or click here, to see the video!
Understanding an important philosophy based on the law of reciprocity can make your networking far more powerful, but only when self applied.
Click on the graphic above, or click here, to see the video!
I have been interviewed by countless reporters, blog authors, and more. Usually once you hit the “dozen books published” line, they assume you have a thing or two to say. With all of those interviews, you’d think I’d run out of things to say. In actuality, I’ve found that the energy of the person interviewing me really comes into play and helps make each conversation unique.
Below are a few clips from a recent talk I did with Cordelia Henry of the Referral Institute. We cover a wide spectrum of topics, which I always love because it gives plenty of variety.
On Givers Gain:
On Working in Your Flame:
On the Greatest Referral I Ever Got:
Thanks Cordelia, for the wonderful conversation!
I have a lot to be thankful for, from my wonderful family to my striving business networking organization. Thanksgiving isn’t the only day that I’m thankful, but it certainly is one day that gives me a chance to relax and enjoy the things that I am thankful for.
I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again – Givers Gain is a standard, not a sword. By giving to others, in all aspects of life, ultimately I will reap the benefits. However, looking at others and judging their actions against Givers Gain will never benefit anyone. After 3 decades of keeping this standard close to my heart, it remains just as true.
That being said, I have a challenge for you all. Go out sometime in the next week or so and do something selflessly for others. It could be for someone close to you, or a complete stranger, or a group of people. Whomever you do something for, do it with only their best interest in mind.
Share with me, either through this blog or on my social media, what happened when you were truly selfless. I’d love to hear your stories.
Some years back, I posted a blog detailing how my introduction to Richard Branson was completely the result of the Butterfly Effect of Networking. In thinking about that blog post, it occurred to me that an important part of the reason I was able to make such effective and rewarding networking connections was the way that I thought about, and therefore went about networking. Here’s what I mean by that . . .
While it’s important to know the right things to do while networking, it’s equally important to start thinking the right way to make your networking efforts as successful and dynamic as they can be. This involves altering your mind-set. Here is an up-close look at some elements you’ll want to include in your mind-set to ensure networking success:
Don’t approach networking thinking ‘I did this for you, now what are you going to do for me?’ Instead, remember the old adage Give and you shall receive? The law of reciprocity takes the focus off of what you stand to gain from the networking relationship, and in doing so, creates bonds based on trust and friendship. Put it to the test. You’ll be amazed by the outcome.
Look for groups that don’t target people just like you. In this way, you’ll broaden the net you seek to cast for referrals.
It’s a long, drawn-out process to go from seeding a field to harvesting the crops and there’s no quick return. But, when you spend time and take care in building relationships, your networking will yield extraordinary results.
Approaching networking with a mentality that focuses on the process of cultivating referrals will create the results you desire. Make an effort to spend more time strengthening your friendships with those whom you wish to have as part of your networking circle and you will certainly make more and better connections.
Do you have any tips for developing a networking-friendly mindset which positions you for success? I’d love to hear from you, so please leave your thoughts, comments, and ideas in the forum below. Thanks!
Put simply, the law of reciprocity in networking means that by providing benefits (including referrals) to others, you will be creating strong networking relationships that will eventually bring benefits (especially referrals) to you, often in a very roundabout way rather than directly from the person you benefit. This makes the law of reciprocity an enormously powerful tool for growing your own business’s size and profitability. Below you will find four very important things to remember as you learn to use the law of reciprocity in your networking efforts.
Tip No. 1–Giving means helping others achieve success. What is your plan to contribute to others? How much time and energy can you spare for this? Do you actively seek out opportunities to help people? You could volunteer to help out with something that’s important to someone in your network, offer advice or support in time of need, or even work hard to connect someone to a valuable contact of yours.
Tip No. 2–The person who helps you will not necessarily be the person you helped. Zig Ziglar says, “If you help enough people get what they want, you will get what you want.” In other words, what goes around comes around. If you focus intently on helping others, you will achieve success in the end.
Tip No. 3–The law of reciprocity can be measured. It is a myth that networking cannot be measured and, in my latest book, Networking Like a Pro, my co-authors and I use the Networking Scorecard Worksheet, part of the Certified Networker Program offered through the Referral Institute, to measure networking. If you apply the law of reciprocity, you will see your weekly total networking score gradually rise.
Tip No. 4–Success takes getting involved. You have to do more than simply be present to be a successful networker. If you join a chamber of commerce, become an ambassador. If you join a BNI chapter, get involved in the leadership team. If you join a civic organization, get on a committee. The law of reciprocity requires giving to the group; it will pay you back many times over.
A master networker understands that, although networking is not the end but simply the means to growing a business, service to your network of contacts must always be uppermost in your networking activities. Once you have established a solid reputation as someone who cares about the success of others, the law of reciprocity will reward you with an abundance of high quality referrals.
The news of Robin Williams’ suicide stunned me last week. He is someone we collectively feel strongly personal about, as if we knew him as a friend. And the situation that apparently led him to take his own life – depression – just left me feeling like I had been sucker punched.
And then it led me to some deeper and more profound thoughts. Albert Pine, an English author who wrote in the early 19th century said, “What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains unchanged and is immortal.” There is no doubt that Robin Williams has left a mark on our world. I have spent hours laughing through one of Williams’ movies, a comedy show or even a simple interview, and I’m sure you have, too.
To paraphrase Pine, I would say the following: What we do for ourselves ends with us. What we do for others lives on.
I certainly hope that what I do for others will live on. This shattering event has given me a moment to pause and take a look at how I have started a movement within business with the purpose to change the way we do business.
I’m so serious about this movement that I have adopted as my motto: “Changing the Way the World Does Business®”This change comes by implementing a shift in the focus of how we go about growing our businesses – from a dog-eat-dog, competitive model, to a how-can-I-help-you, collaborative model.
One of our business colleagues said recently about our mission that “we know referrals are our purpose, but impacting someone’s life is our calling.”
When doing business with the “givers gain” philosophy gets really embedded in practice, there’s a huge movement from “transactional” to “transformational relationships,” and both people and business take on fresh dimensions of trust and creativity that can’t be measured with mere numbers. That ethos and experience, multiplied in viral fashion, changes the face of business, which in turn impacts lives in positive ways.
Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe, wrote, “Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.” This Givers Gain business focus started when I was just 28 years old and has provided me with a rewarding and long career.
I think we can all use our loss of one of America’s great comedians and actors to start a conversation about what our contribution is going to be that will live on past our life span. I would encourage you to design a fulfilling life. Whatever you are, be a good one, as my friend Stewart Emery says.
I sincerely hope that somehow Robin Williams had a sense of the contribution he made to our lives before he left us, all too soon.
Rest in peace, Robin. You will be missed.
I was at the BNI® U.S. National Conference in Nashville, Tennessee last week and every day, room service would come up and deliver my meals (often, right as a meeting in my suite was wrapping up). Leslie (pictured below) was the employee who most often made the deliveries during the last part of my stay. On one of these days, I had a group of ten BNI Directors in my suite. They were kind enough to give me a Givers Gain® plaque (pictured at right) made by one of their local members.
We started to gather around to get a photo and Leslie said, “Would you like me to take the picture?” Now that’s not a big surprise, employees at hotels and restaurants have become accustomed to taking photos of the many people going through their venues. But here was the unusual part; she then said to everyone – “Okay, everybody give me all your cameras–I’ll take a photo with each of them.” She then dutifully accepted each camera and phone and, one by one, took many photographs making sure that everyone got their own picture.
While I was watching all of this, it struck me that she not only didn’t act “put-out” by having one camera after another given to her – she happily took each picture patiently and professionally, and smiled and chatted while she took each and every photo as though she were taking photos of her own family. I couldn’t help but think that there was some supervisor downstairs wondering what was taking her so long. The truth is, she was giving the guests at her hotel a very nice experience.
It made me start to think about each trip that Leslie made to the room. She was courteous, friendly, helpful, and attentive. I was so wrapped up in “the business of a running a conference” that I didn’t really notice just how good she really was until things started winding down for me.
So, for the record – to Leslie’s supervisor at the Omni Hotel in Nashville: Please know that Leslie was working diligently at creating a great guest experience. So much so, that I told the hotel manager that Leslie should be teaching customer service training – she’s that good. Thank you, Leslie – your stellar service was well noted (it may have taken me a few days – but I noticed).
I highly recommend that you stay in this hotel if you are heading to Nashville. Here is a link to the Omni Nashville: https://www.omnihotels.com/hotels/nashville
If you’ve had a terrific customer service experience in the past, I’d love for you to share it in the comment forum below because I’m very interested in hearing about it–I’m particularly interested in your thoughts on what it was specifically that made your experience great.
P.S.–Many of you know that I radically altered my diet and, because of that, my wife Beth and I work closely with the hotel chefs when we travel. Well, Chef Harker from the Omni was also incredible (much like Leslie)–he’s one of the best chefs I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with during my travels. Thank you, Chef Harker!
The Law of Reciprocity is a part of social capital theory and, in simple terms, it basically states that what you give/put out to the world will come back around to you in equal measure (i.e., ‘what goes around comes around’) and if you help others, you’ll receive help in return.
The interesting thing is that the Law of Reciprocity is not always immediate and the way in which it’s actually working is not always clear cut or easy to see. You may help a person in their time of need and find that your good will toward them comes back to you in the form of good will or help repaid to you from someone completely different. That’s the beauty of it though . . . when you have pure intentions toward others and act positively on those intentions, life (via the Law of Reciprocity) will reward you in surprising ways (And good surprises are much more fascinating and enjoyable than being able to predict exactly how the good you do will come back to you, right?).
In this video, in addition to discussing my general view on the Givers Gain® and the Law of Reciprocity, I share my initial reaction in regard to recently finding out how my son helped a friend in a time of dire need and I talk about how I believe the Law of Reciprocity will no doubt come into play for him as a result.
Do you have a story about how the Law of Reciprocity has affected you? If so, please go to www.SubmitYourNetworkingStory.com and share your story for consideration of inclusion in the upcoming networking book I’m writing with Jack Canfield, and Gautam Ganglani. Also, I’d love for you to briefly summarize your story in the comment forum below as well. Thanks in advance for your participation!
Givers Gain® is a philosophy based on the law of reciprocity. In the context of networking groups, people who adopt this philosophy dedicate themselves to giving business to their fellow networkers rather than making their foremost concern getting business for themselves. In doing so, other people naturally become eager to repay their kindness by sending them business in return. Givers Gain is a great way to live life in general and it is a standard which we can all apply to ourselves—key word being “ourselves”; it is not a sword to be pointed at others who may not adopt the philosophy.
Unfortunately, I have seen the Givers Gain concept abused from time to time and, as you may have guessed, the reason I’m writing about it now is because I saw it abused quite recently. The entire concept gets misused when we start pointing a finger at others and saying things like, “Milton doesn’t have a Givers Gain attitude—he’s going about things all wrong.” What’s interesting is that when we say things like this about other people, it’s often because they’re not doing something we think they ought to be doing in business or life.
Again, Givers Gain is not a sword to wave around at people who aren’t doing what we think they should be doing. It is a standard we can apply to ourselves and ourselves only. Ironically, when we point our index finger at someone else, there are three fingers pointing back at us—it’s a perfect reminder of whose actions and tactics we really need to be worrying about, don’t you think? Don’t be the person who tends to blame others for their woes instead of focusing on their own behavior.
People who criticize and point fingers at others can be very caustic, which is one of the reasons it is important to be really selective about the people you surround yourself with (especially in the context of networking groups). That said, there will undoubtedly still be people in our lives who are unendingly critical, judgmental, and just plain vitriolic. I know I certainly have a couple of them in my life, including one person in particular who appears to have made criticizing me his favorite pastime. They’re the people who love to talk about you, but who never actually talk to you about issues.
So, what do you do if you practice the Givers Gain philosophy in a sincere and consistent way, yet there is still someone waging a very personal attack on you? How do you respond when they start waving their interpretation of the Givers Gain concept in your face like a sword of criticism? The answer is simple—be yourself. Continue to apply the philosophy to yourself in every way you can. Vitriolic people are that way because they can’t control themselves. Maybe they’re basically angry, maybe they’ve had a difficult life—who knows? It doesn’t really matter because they are who they are and you can’t change them. As much as we’d all like to steer clear of these people, there will be times when it’s virtually impossible.
Telling someone they’re wrong about you never works (I know this from personal experience); they’ll just come at you even stronger. I can tell you what does work though. What really works is when somebody else stands up and says to the person who’s badmouthing you that they’re out of line, or that what they’re saying is simply not appropriate. It’s a little like a referral—nothing beats a third party endorsement . . . or, in this case, a third party defense.
Why am I bringing all this to light? Because, the fact is, you are going to find yourself around a vitriolic person at one time or another—someone who’s combative instead of collaborative, someone who’s saying horrible things about someone else—and I want to take this opportunity to strongly encourage you to stand tall and speak up.
Good people stand up when caustic people say bad things about others; and if you practice Givers Gain as your own personal standard, you already know that standing up for others will encourage others to stand up for you.
Do you have a story about an experience with a person who was criticizing you to others or other people to you? How did you handle it? I’d love to hear your story, as well as your feedback on this blog post and on the Givers Gain concept in general. Please leave your thoughts in the comment forum below. Thanks!
In order for a networking group to be successful and thus ensure optimum networking results for each of its members, the first thing the group needs to do is ensure they are embracing quality.
Embracing quality means being very selective about who you bring into the group. The only people you should be inviting into the group are quality business professionals who have a positive, supportive attitude and are good at what they do. If an individual does not meet these criteria, they should not be permitted into the group, period.
Effective networking is dependent on the quality of the relationships are developed within any given networking group, therefore it should go without saying that embracing quality also means building deep relationships among all referral partners in order to generate more referrals. If your network is a mile wide and an inch deep, you won’t be getting the referrals you expect.
Another aspect of embracing quality is ensuring quality participation which means there absolutely must be accountability within the group. One of the greatest strengths of a good network is that many of the members are friends. One of the biggest weaknesses, however, is that . . . well . . . many of the members are friends; friends don’t generally like to hold other friends accountable. You need to remember, as do your fellow networking group members, that the purpose of your group is not to be a friendship club–your purpose is to be a referral group and in order to generate quality referrals, all members of the group must hold each other accountable for maintaining quality participation.
If you expect the best from your fellow referral partners, you’ll get it. Likewise, if you expect less than the best from them, you’re guaranteed to get that as well. Why accept mediocrity when excellence is an option? Accountability within a group will help all involved to achieve excellence.
The last part of embracing quality is applying the Givers Gain® philosophy within the networking group (i.e., when each member focuses on helping their fellow members achieve goals, gain referrals, and grow business, their fellow members will reciprocate by helping them back in the same way). The more members who live this philosophy (particularly as it relates to referrals), the more successful a group will be.
How does your networking group currently excel at embracing quality? Which aspects of embracing quality could your group stand to improve upon? Please share your thoughts in the comments section and I’ll be more than happy to offer suggested solutions to any challenges your group may be having with putting enough emphasis on quality. Thanks!
Are you using coin-operated networking? In this short video, I discuss coin-operated networking vs. Givers Gain networking and I explain why the transactional process (I will give you this, now you have to give me that) doesn’t work because there is always a scorecard. The value of the referrals may also be the different — think of the monetary value for two referrals to a florist vs. two referrals to a realtor.
If you try to use coin-operated networking, it will absolutely, categorically fail. To get maximum results from your networking efforts, it is imperative to understand the full concept of Givers Gain. When you work with other people and genuinely invest yourself in creating good rapport and trust with them, you will be able to build strong, mutually beneficial relationships over time.
Actively seek out ways to support and offer assistance to others in your network and help them achieve their goals and get where they want to be. A good way to begin is to give them something that will help them. Use the gift of giving: if someone expresses a problem in their business, send them an article that may help them. By doing so, you have just opened the door to a business relationship, without asking for anything in return.
The process is about farming, not hunting.
If you have an example about how you’ve used farming as opposed to hunting, please share it by leaving a comment. Thanks!
The First Law of Notable Networking: Have a Positive and Supportive Attitude
Good networking involves providing a positive and supportive environment to other business people. Remember this: Notable Networking is predicated upon the concept that Givers Gain®.
If you freely give business to others, they will give business to you. This concept is based on the age-old notion that “what goes around, comes around.” If I give business to you, you’ll give business to me, and we will both do better as a result. Networking is like a savings account: if you keep investing wisely, you can draw upon it when you need it. One enthusiastic networker who belongs to a formal networking group told me, “The longer I’m in the group, the better I get at networking and the more referrals I get. In addition, it seems that the more referrals I get, the higher the percentage that I close! By developing long-term relationships, I am gaining the trust of the other members, which makes it easier to receive and close the referrals that are passed to me.”
A positive, supportive attitude also includes the way you present yourself to other people. Everyone likes to do business with an enthusiastic optimist. If you join a networking group, remain focused on the reason you’re there. I see far too many people go to networks and get caught up in the irrelevant nitpicking: “The food’s no good,” “The speaker was mediocre,” “This room’s not very nice,” and so on.
With the quibblers, I share this anecdote: An airline attendant once responded to a passenger’s complaints about the quality of his dinner by asking him, “When you go to a French restaurant, do you usually order an airline ticket?” The same rationale applies to networking meetings. The quality of the food and the speaker should be secondary to the quality of the contacts you are making. Don’t lose sight of your purpose.
It’s not Net-Sit or Net-Eat, it’s Net-WORK! If you want your network to work for you, then you have to work your network in a positive and supportive manner.
In many ways, the First Law of Notable Networking involves more than attitude; it’s a way of life and a good way to do business. When you constantly and consciously keep other people in your mind, they will do the same for you.
I’ll be posting about the Second and Third Laws of Notable Networking over the next couple of weeks so be sure to check back if you want to learn even more about how to succeed as a networker.
*Can you think of a person in your network who exemplifies the First Law of Notable Networking? If so, take this opportunity to carry out the First Law yourself and showing them your support by recognizing that person in the comments section below. Tell us who they are and what they do that makes them such a shining example of this First Law of Notable Networking.