There is no such thing as being self-made. Sometimes we hear the claim but if you think about it, doing business involves the exchange of services, time, and money between two or more people. You can’t do business alone, even if you work for yourself. At some point you have to make valuable connections and make them work for you. But people aren’t machines, we can’t simply establish a connection and then expect all the rewards to fall at our feet. To make a connection work for you and valuable for you then it’s important to build trust.
Trust is directly related to likeability and respect. One of them always leads to the other and you can’t build on one if you don’t have the others either. If we want people to take the time and effort to give us a fair hearing, if we want them to believe a word we say, we need to build trust. We need to be respected and liked if we want to be trusted. If we want a person to pass our name along to an established figure in the industry we want then that person needs to feel safe to do so. They have to trust that we will not bring negativity in any form to the person they share our name with.
What separates a painting by an unknown office worker from Rotherham from a painting by a celebrated artist that sells for thousands first hand? When someone buys a painting for a serious amount of money, they have put a lot of trust in the artist. They do not want to be the person who paid a huge sum for the silly picture, they want to buy the concept, the name, and the rapport that goes with the art. Being displayed in a high profile auction is often not enough to establish the trust needed to get the big sale. Customers want something else; they want to have heard of you for good reasons.
Building networks that resonate with your good intentions involves a lot of work. Some of us are naturally extroverted and gladly soak up social attention all day long. Others are more reserved and build up social energy to be used at only the most appropriate times. No matter how you move forward, there are some essential aspects to networking that must be considered in order to get the trust you deserve. Not many people trust completely without evidence, and this means we have to be the one to provide it.
We are all on our own personal journey. Everyone we meet has a plan, a list of goals, and a desire for something they have not yet achieved. We have one too. There are ways of helping other people that result in helping us too. This isn’t about doing a favour in order to get one back, it’s about unifying your cause to align with other people’s in order to benefit both without infringing on each other’s progress. If people ask for favours then by all means ask for one in return, it’s just not a good idea to give them as pre-payment as people can feel pressured and manipulated. People in your field often have similar goals to you and so it makes sense to work together where possible. This builds relationships and shows that you have a good methodology.
Working with others so closely can leave us vulnerable. We don’t want them to see that we too are human and sometimes get things wrong. This is counter-intuitive to building trust. The reality is that we all make mistakes and the only difference is in how we deal with them. If we can accept them, correct them, and learn from them, then we can show that our intentions are always for the best result. Being able to see that others are also not perfect and not make a scene about it will also help to build trust. Other people want to feel safe to be themselves.
It's not all about you. Other people are just as keen to progress on their agenda as you are with yours. It’s a good idea to show active interest in other people’s projects and journeys. Be a good friend, find out how things are going on and be able to make useful suggestions. Even if you can’t think of something particularly helpful or useful then you help to build trust by nature of your intentions. Make it your business to support other people’s business, what ever that happens to be. It’s not always about making a living; some are just looking to make something useful or interesting. Make sure you can identify the goals a person is working towards, or you may lead them in the wrong direction.
It’s a natural relationship and not a forced one. Imposing yourself on people because you think they’ll be useful is only going to push them away. We need to take our time and look for valid openings that bridge the gaps. Boastful or domineering conversations will not put you in a good light. In professional circles, everyone is exceptionally good at what they do. It’s a standard that you just must accept. If you come across as full of yourself or over-confident then people will find it hard to trust you with anything important. If just being talented or highly trained goes to your head then a bit of responsibility might be too much to handle.
When it comes to asking for help, which is only natural and perfectly normal much in the way this website asks for your kind contributions on every page, be clear as to what it’s for. Your aim is the reason you want the job done or the help needed and this makes a difference as to whether others will want to provide this. Make it clear that you have a task to complete or a target to reach and you could do with some kind of support towards this. It’s up to others to decide if they want to give support or do a favour, and to what extent or not. If you can be trusted then it’s more likely that people will be happy to assist you.
This makes transparency highly valuable. Only the untrustworthy find the need to cover things up and so by being transparent in your activity others can see that you are legitimate. Always explain your purpose and method to the best of your ability in communications and make sure that the work is done to follow up on the idea. A good idea isn’t worth anything until it is implemented. Make it available to see that the idea is good and that it is being actively pursued. Be an open door that others can walk through and find out all about you and your integrity.
Looking for a good network starts at the beginning and within time it’s a good possibility you’ll have made some useful contacts. Although you want to keep these to yourself as a part of your plan, the act of connecting others is a useful way of fortifying these relationships and building trust between them. By being open about who you know and willing to connect them with new clients and other businesses or ventures we become professionally connected as a hub rather than just a node. This ultimately helps others learn that you are a genuine influence for the benefit of everyone.
To be a fluid connection in your network, it’s important to remember to not be one-sided. Some of us naturally give and give without asking for anything in return. If we can’t align our efforts to work to a shared goal, then there should be an exchange of effort or energy involved that benefits both parties. Finding the balance in this situation is a task that is achieved over time. Being of value gets you so far so don’t forget to see the value in others too. Shared values bring better results. There will always be less glamorous work to do that involves the nuts and bolts of your project. Don’t be afraid to spend time on this work and to be available to help others do theirs. Fair weather friends can sometimes only be trusted to show up when things are going well.
We get to grips with what other people are working on, what their needs are, and what they aim to achieve by talking to them. Relaxed and friendly conversation is the best way to build a sense of genuine rapport. Time will tell if there’s anything you can work with them on or anything they can do for you or your contacts. If you just make a friend and nothing more you are still up from where you were before. When we talk to people, we learn about them and their methods. By listening intently and visualising what they say in an active manner we can create a good picture of their direction and needs. This way we can also learn how others go about solving the problems that you might have in your own life.
When talking with others and building connections, we should show a passion for our own work. When people can see that we have an emotional involvement with our purpose and direction they will feel able to trust that we mean what we say. To be trusted with our direction, we need to demonstrate that we care about it and that the end result really matters to us. It’s a necessary step to take in order to imprint the idea that you work on a certain thing for a certain reason and that others can empathise with this reason for themselves. This way we offer proof that any energy sent in our direction will not be wasted.
They say it’s not what you know but who you know. Getting to know people can sometimes take time and a keen eye for opportunity. It goes further than this, it’s not who you know but how you treat them. If we treat those we know with the respect and trust they deserve and make ourselves available to them as a service and an individual then these qualities will be reciprocated in time. Everyone is doing their best to get on and make their targets and it might take a while for others to fully acknowledge you or your usefulness in their story. It’s vital not to rush and just let things flow in a natural way. By working hard and staying in touch everyone will see that you’re worth their time and energy.
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Alternative Fruit by Rowan B. Colver
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