Three Things I do for building relationships and networking

Few things in my life are more powerful than relationships. A few times knowing the right person allowed me to reach some of my goals ten times faster.

Not only that: Relationships make my life worth living. What would my efforts mean if I couldn't share the fruits with anyone?

To me, relationships are an end in itself - even if they can benefit my goals. I can't overstate the importance of this, especially in a blog post on networking principles.

Using principles or techniques to build relationships sounds manipulative - and it would be if I tried to manipulate people into fulfilling my wishes. Since I use these techniques to build the relationship itself, however, that concern fades. I hope you agree.

With that out of the way, let's dive right in.

First: Reciprocity.

To reciprocate means to give back a favor. If you pay me a coffee during our first meeting, you bet I'll pay the next round.

Reciprocity isn't limited to material things. If you treat me with respect, I will treat you similarly. If you connect me to somebody or speak well of me in public, I will do the same.

It's a basic human psychology principle. I knew this innately, but first read about the term in Cialdini's book "Influence" (It's great).

Simply focus on giving first, especially if you're doing so at a low cost (i.e., when introducing somebody), without expecting anything in return.

Second: Oversharing.

This ties in closely with reciprocity. When I first talk to somebody, I overshare a bit. I say something personal, explain my worries and concerns, or share a delicate opinion.

By doing so, I'm giving a "trust advance" (my day job CEO coined that term). I show that I trust you, which lets you trust me in return.

Here's an example: I'm afraid I'll seem like a know-it-all in this post, that the writing is too technical, and that I'm not in the position to write about this at all. I mean it.

Did reading the last paragraph change your level of trust in me? Is it higher now? That's what I mean.

The paragraph wasn't a lie either, and I am always honest when oversharing. If I were lying, it would be manipulation.

Third: Don't talk business.

That's something I learned as a musician. Regardless of the party I was on, the same topics came up.

"Where do you play?" (Easy small talk question, gauging what the other person does) "Do you know that guy?" (Trying to find commonalities: people we both know) "I was on tour with XYZ lately..." (Namedropping to establish credibility)

It was pretty repetitive, to be honest. These topics never built relationships, as we only talked about business. We weren't getting to know each other, so we had no chance to start liking each other.

But once we chatted about private things or things we found exciting, we started liking and trusting each other. The relationship moved from a shallow "nice to meet you" small talk to a "we should hang out soon."

Disagreeing wasn't a problem, either. The more I knew the unique features of a person, even if they were unlike mine, the more I felt like genuinely knowing him or her.

Try it for once. See if it adds one more important person to your life. Everything else will follow naturally.


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© Julian Domke, 2023 •