Networking through generosity

“A big turning point in my own networking was to stop trying to network with people who could help me, and focus on people I could help.” Scott H. Young

One of the last conversations I had with Dru before I moved to Saudi Arabia hit on exactly what Scott wrote. Dru said some of the best work he’s been able to do started with him just emailing artists he enjoys with free work he’s done for them. For instance, he might create a poster for one of his favorite musicians and send it, along with a note saying the poster’s completely free just because Dru’s a fan of her work.

The beauty of this strategy is that it starts the relationship off in the best possible way: with the other person getting something from you. Even if the other person decides not to use whatever you give them, the gesture itself of giving something custom-made creates a strong connection.

Thing is, though, if you try to help the people you follow and enjoy anyway, you probably know more about what they want and how you can help them than if you tried to help someone else or if they tried to get the same thing done on their own. Take Dru for example again. He can work up a great poster for a musician because he knows the style and feel of the musician’s music as a result of already being a fan of it.

It just comes back to thinking about the other person, what they could get out of the connection, rather than on how we could benefit from it.