Steps to Networking – Step 24: Promises, promises

Written By Rick Frishman Published April 4th, 2010

STEP 24: Promises, promises

Most people mean well. When you’re together, they’re warm, friendly and brimming with encouragement, compliments and helpful advice. They have a million ideas as to what you should do and how you should do it. Some may reel off the names of your heroes and claim that they are closest buddies. They may even volunteer to call someone at the top of his/her field, which would put you on the map and solve all your problems. Well, don’t hold your breath!

Some people are merely big talkers or shameless name droppers. Usually, the name droppers are easy to spot. When most contacts make promises to you, they will sincerely want to help. However, other pressures and demands have an uncanny way of disrupting the best of intentions. Unfortunately, the old saying, “out of sight, out of mind,” is frequently true and many contacts, no matter how sincere or well-meaning, simply don’t come through.

So take every promise with a grain of salt, not as a guarantee or sure thing. Give it the same weight as you would a stock tip from a stranger. Until proven to the contrary, accept that your contact’s promise was well intentioned and made with a true desire to help. Build on his/her good intentions. Salvage something positive from your contacts’ promises and from their failure to deliver, but never show annoyance or irritation. Don’t try to shame or blackmail those who failed you into helping you. They will resent it and your methods can easily backfire.

In the face of disappointment, work to keep open the avenues of communication with your contacts, strive to build good will and position yourself to fight another — and hopefully, more productive — day.

Action steps

1. List the names of five direct contacts and state reason you listed each.
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2. Provide the names of five intermediary contacts and state the reason you listed each.
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3. Identify below your talents and skills in the order in which you’re most proficient. Think in terms of benefits that you can provide rather than job titles or descriptions.
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4. State your values in the order of their importance below:
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(Excerpted from NETWORKING MAGIC: Making Connections That Will Change Your Life By Rick Frishman and Jill Lublin With Mark Steisel)


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