Ever been hanging out with a group or a friend and have a moment where you’re thinking, “Do I know You?” You know that you share the same contacts and move around in the same circles but you’re asking yourself, “What do I know about these people or that person beyond six degrees of separation?”
Developing meaningful relationships is a challenge in a technology driven, fast paced society. Everyone’s making power moves to advance their careers and the pursuit for the next big score could be in the next person you connect with. So every every encounter we must have our elevator pitch in our holster and ready to fire off once we’re past the unpleasantries of having to make small talk and the dreaded eye contact that accompanies it.
We both fire off our “who are you’s” and “what do you do’s” and ding, ding, ding, we’re a match! I know who you know, bada bing let’s do lunch. Oh the adrenaline rush from the hunt is addictive, isn’t it? However lunch isn’t about getting to know “who’s” seated across from me. It’s a recon mission of getting to what and who you know and what resources you have that benefit me.
We continue to connect but it’s on a superficial level because the foundation of the relationship is built on what this person does and not who they are. I’m not saying we need to have a kumbaya moment with everyone we meet however, I am saying that we need to be intentional with who we connect with and identify the acquaintances that lead to long term relationships that are mutually beneficial.
Collaboration is necessary for many entrepreneurs but most fail to successfully integrate skills, knowledge and experience for mutual benefit because the time was not spent in developing a meaningful relationship from day 1. This level of superficiality is great for networking events and connecting over drinks but it can be disastrous if we’re required to collaborate on an opportunity and I learn we both have AI personality traits and both are determined to be like Sinatra and will only “do it my way”.
The next time you’re networking or just looking to meet new people be intentional. Make an effort to get to know who the person is beyond what they do.
- Connecting with someone solely on brand recognition will not validate YOU. Who you are and what you represent has value. Be excellent and consistent in your work and efforts and the right opportunities through the right relationships will come.
- If connecting on social media, move the conversation offline and meet in person. If they’re not local, Skype or FaceTime. Social media is virtual and many create the persona they know that will attract people who chase titles and access over character and abilities.
- Take your time. You don’t have to build deep personal relationships with everyone you meet or do business with. You must however, develop a vetting system to mitigate risks. You must have set qualifiers that you don’t deviate from to determine if the relationship is a good fit and if collaboration is a goal, you both benefit. Synergy matters.
Trust is built when the time is spent building meaningful relationships within your circle. Knowing one’s character and level of integrity can save you from unethical behavior and decisions that can traumatize you and cause irreversible damage to your brand. If someone has been in your circle over 6 months and you are asking yourself, “Do I know you?”, now is the time to develop or dismiss.