Heidi Roizen: To Build Real Relationships, Be Real

When you read the description of Heidi Roizen as a “legendary networker”, your first image might be someone with a stack of business cards, doling them out and shaking hands.

You would be wrong.

One of the key reasons that Heidi has had success in networking is because she genuinely cares about other people and builds real relationships with them.  And after you read this, you will also want to be one of her friends, even if only to get on her Christmas card list.

Heidi says:

“When I read somebody just shipped their product, or somebody just got a promotion, or somebody just had a baby, a little “attaboy” goes a long way in maintaining the relationship. People like to know that you’re thinking about them and that you notice when something happens to them, whether it’s good or bad. If someone experiences a death in their family, sending them an actual hand-written card is a really nice thing to do. It’s a human gesture. People appreciate that. And I don’t do it because I’m trying to manipulate. I do it because I think it’s the right thing to do as someone who cares about other people. But these things help. Continue reading

Heidi Roizen: Getting the Door Slammed in Your Face Means You are Doing it Right

In the investment world there is an accepted relationship between risk and return. In order to get a big return, you generally have to accept a significant level of risk. In her Social Capitalist interview, legendary networker Heidi Roizen shared her thoughts on the relationship between risk and return in relationships – and why, if doors aren’t getting slammed in your face from time to time, you probably aren’t risking enough.

Heidi says:

“I think you have to have a certain amount of tenacity and belief in yourself and what you’re trying to accomplish. Sometimes it takes a while to get other people on the same page with you. Sometimes, they’re never going to get on the same page. I think there’s a fine line between appropriate persistence to just beating a dead horse and becoming an annoying presence to the other person. Again I think you have to have the approach of asking yourself, What’s in it for them?

When you approach someone, sometimes there are clear “no’s,” but sometimes there are people who are a little skeptical and maybe need to be convinced. Maybe you need to do more homework…Sometimes there’s a longer process to building relationships and getting people on the same page with you. Continue reading

Heidi Roizen Tells You How to Mint Your Own Currency

Social Capitalist Heidi Roizen is known as Silicon Valley’s most legendary networker, but she had to build those relationships from the ground up just like anyone else. In this week’s tip she shares advice about finding and creating the currency you can offer to build a generosity-based relationship with anyone.

Heidi says:

“I do think there’s something truthful in asking the questions of any relationship you build, what do you bring to the table for that other person? What is the context of the relationship? What can you offer? Everyone has something to offer, but I think that people don’t realize it, particularly those who are just starting out.

Let’s take a situation where you want to get to know someone in your community who runs a company. Maybe you can’t do something directly for them, but maybe they’re involved in a charitable organization and you can go volunteer, work to death, and help with membership. You can go and do something. And eventually, as I find in many charitable organizations, it’s pretty easy to work your way up the ranks, if you devote some time and energy to doing it. And eventually, you will end up in a circle with that person or have an opportunity to talk to them. Continue reading

Heidi Roizen: How Your Daily Walk Can Help Pay it Forward

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.

Heidi says:

“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.” Continue reading

Build Credibility as a Square Peg: Tips from Heidi Roizen

Building credibility and a supportive network is easier when you “fit in” with the other members of the group you want to affiliate with. However, even if you don’t quite mirror the profile for your target group, all is not lost. In today’s Social Capitalist tip, Heidi Roizen, Silicon Valley’s most legendary networker, shares her perspective as a woman with a non-technical background breaking into the software industry.

Heidi says:

“Whenever I ran into a situation where someone was not receptive to me because I was young, or a woman, or non-technical, whatever the reason, my feeling was that there was always someone else I could go to. There was always another door I could open.

And as many times as being a woman hurt me, it probably helped me. It made me stand out. For example, in the early days of the Valley, there were so few articles about the women working there that I knew, given the size of my company, I would get more than my fair share of press, just because people were looking for women to write about. I wouldn’t call that exploitative, I would say that this might have helped me.

On the flip side, there were certainly times when I would walk into a room or a situation where I did not feel particularly welcome. I don’t think beating your head against those walls is a very effective approach. I think I learned that pretty quickly.

I think that tenacity, a good sense of self-worth, and a sense that you’re going to accomplish something even in the face of difficulty are all things you need to build in yourself and with your small group. Everybody starts out with a group, even if it’s your mom, and at least you’ve got somebody who tells you you’re good and that they like you. You need to get some strength from those people and recognize that not everything’s going to be a win. If you don’t find the win, you need to move on and go somewhere else.”

Read a full transcript of the interview with Heidi, filled with other great tips and insights, by clicking here.

Heidi Roizen Gives You an All-Access Pass to Meet Anyone

One of the key relationship-building tactics that myGreenlight encourages is to research potential contacts to find a point of common interest to warm up conversations and create opportunities for true connection. In his interview with Heidi Roizen, Never Eat Alone co-author Tahl Raz noted that one of the critical aspects to confidence in meeting new people is giving yourself the context, or permission, to approach them in the first place.

Heidi said:

“You have a context as a human being to approach anybody else. I think it’s an interesting thought to have. You could probably find a connection with every other person on the planet if you probe enough about your interests, beliefs, style, passions, what music or TV shows you enjoy, or how you like to spend your time. There’s probably a connection point somewhere because we’re all very complex beings.”

For more great insights from Heidi, don’t miss the full transcript of the Social Capitalist interview: Social Capitalist Transcript – Heidi Roizen.

Heidi Roizen’s Top Tip for Getting Emails Answered

This week’s Social Capitalist Tip is from Heidi Roizen, the venture capitalist and Stanford professor who is known as Silicon Valley’s most legendary networker. She is also the subject of a Harvard Business Review case study. During the interview, Tahl Raz asked Heidi about the key takeaways from that case.

Heidi said:

“If you want to boil this case down to one fundamental takeaway, it’s this: Don’t approach someone because you want something from them. Approach someone because you have something to offer.

Now there’s no reason that this can’t be a win-win for you as well. But think in terms of what value you’ll be bringing to other people. Ultimately, that’s why they’re going to continue to connect with you. It’s why they’re going to answer your phone calls and your emails and your whatever. They’ll see you as someone who can be helpful to them. I think that’s a very easy thing to learn, and it’s a very easy thing to test and to check as you go and carry out your life. When you intend to form a relationship with someone, the first thing you should think is, What value am I to them?”

Read a full transcript of the interview with Heidi, filled with other great tips and insights, by clicking here.