The majority of our relationship-building activities, even when based on generosity, are driven by a desire to connect up – to meet people who have more influence, more connections, more experience. During the Social Capitalist interview with legendary networker Heidi Roizen, she shared some of the benefits of connecting down and being open to building relationships as a mentor.
“One of the things I do, and I recommend this to people on the other side of the food chain, people who’ve already built a big network but still want to be open, is to pay it forward. That means that I take an hour walk every day, and I populate that hour with a person. And in my book, they don’t have to have a lot of qualifications to be that person. So a lot of times, if someone approaches me and says, “I’m a student,” or, “I’m starting a company” – and admittedly I particularly focus on young women entrepreneurs – I’ll say to them, “Great, I’m willing to spend an hour with you if you’re willing to come to my house and walk with me and my dog.”
I figure that at worst, at least I get some exercise. I think it’s important to figure out a way to blend in an activity that’s good for someone else, even if you don’t see any immediate benefit for yourself. Remember, not everything do you will have an immediate benefit. Sometimes, and I think this is an important point, you don’t always know what the benefit’s going to be.
Do you ever meet a person and think, “This is a cool and an interesting person. I don’t have anything I want from them right now, but I think my life would be better off if I knew this person and was helpful to this person?”
I’ve had that attitude and every once in a while, that person ends up doing something really cool or really neat. Even if all it is is that they call me and say ,“Five years ago you said X and I did X and it was really important that you said that and I wanted to thank you.”
That’s a huge karmic benefit, and I feel good about that. So sometimes you don’t always know why or what to expect. Sometimes, the pay-off can be a long time, 10 or 20 years, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, because that’s part of the art of building a base of relationships. At the end of the day, it’s what your gut tells you about the opportunity that you’re going to have to enhance that other person’s life and the opportunity they’re going to have to enhance yours.”
For more great tips from a relationship pro, read the full transcript of Heidi’s Social Capitalist Interview: click here.