Thursday, November 28, 2013

Why Payforward Networking is More Effective Than 'Tit for Tat'

One of the cornerstones of relationship networking is the concept of helping the people in your network with no expectation of a direct return. To people unfamiliar with this approach this can seem odd. Many times in workshops people have asked me if this proactive aid isn't just a way to force someone to do something for you by creating an obligation to reciprocate. But it isn't and the reason why this "payforward" mentality works is very interesting.

If you are in a position to help someone you should do so anyway, and not wait until they can help you. Helping someone so that they help you, the 'tit for tat' approach both makes people feel uncomfortable and at the same time it is not the most productive way. It is much more effective and satisfying to simply reach out to help people in your network when you can without even thinking what they could do for you. This payforward approach does not give you an immediate return, though it does strengthen your relationship, but if you contribute to the group others are encouraged to do the same and eventually you benefit. So you help A, A helps B, B helps C and perhaps C helps you.

This is much more effective for the same reason that we have money. You could conceivably create a barter economy where a writer needing a plumber has to look for a plumber who needs a writer, which seems rather unlikely. It is much simpler to use money because it means that you are not limited to working with people who need you.

In much the same way payforward networking effectively introduces the idea of a networking currency, credits that you build up in a virtual bank that eventually you cash in when you receive help from another person. It can happen that you could help someone who could help you directly, but it is much more likely that you help someone, they help another and one of the people who benefited from this helps you one day.

To apply this technique you need to know what everyone in your network is looking for, so you will be able to watch out for these things so that you can connect people with people and people with opportunities. You will also need to keep opportunities in your network. If you hear about a job opening in Paris and you don't want it don't just say no thank you; share the opportunity with your network. If someone in your network succeeds then the network benefits and ultimately you do, too.

More about professional networking

There's much more about professional networking in my book Payforward Networking on the Amazon Kindle bookstore. There will also be a paperback edition soon. This book is based on my experience delivering lectures, seminars and one-day workshops about networking for companies, organizations and business schools.

Lectures, Workshops, Coaching; Writing

For lectures, workshops, coaching and writing on networking, influencing and other communication topics visit, email or call 0033 6 79 61 42 81 in France and 0046 730 894 475 in Sweden.

Related Posts About Networking

Three ways to be more confident at networking events
Why being a connector makes your networking more effective.
Why you should be networking even if you are not looking for a job
How Encouraging Networking Makes Your Workplace More Effective
How to Make Photos for Professional Profiles and CVs
Why Networking is About Building relationships
How to Use Twitter for Professional Networking
LinkedIn: Why Unanswered Messages are Wasted Opportunities
LinkedIn May Be Hacker's Dream Tool But Attacks Easy to Foil
Recruiters Not Only Check Social Media They Use Them to Identify People
How to Separate Work and Private Networking
Linkedin Etiquette: How to Approach People You Don't Know
Professional Networking: Five Sites You Should Be Using for Your Career
Three Keys to Networking
Selling Your Ideas: Influencing Your Way to Success

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Three Ways to Break the Ice with an Audience Before You Start to Speak

Most advice about breaking the ice with audiences concentrates on what you do once you start to speak. But if you prepare in advance you can make sure that the ice is at least partly broken even before you step up to the microphone. Here are three ways to do this.

1. BE KNOWN TO THE AUDIENCE.  If you are a Malcolm Gladwell the audience already knows you so the ice is effectively broken before you even open your mouth. Maybe you are not going to be as well known as he is, but you can certainly move in the right direction. Make sure that you are visible to the audience through social media, traditional media, promotional materials for the event and any other channel that you can find. Start months in advance if you can. At the very least you must have a clear online presence so that when people Google your name they see something reassuring. If the audience already knows who you are they do not spend the first five minutes wondering who you are and why they should listen to you, and this makes it much easier to connect.

2. TALK ABOUT THE TOPIC IN ADVANCE. You might think that a surprise would be most effective but this is not the way it works. Humans are naturally suspicious of new ideas and only accept them when they start to become familiar. Talk about the topic you plan to speak about in your blog, in your social media, in interviews, in other speaking opportunities and any other channel that you use. When you start talking about something that the audience has already heard about it is much more likely that they will pay attention, fast forwarding past the phase of suspicion and disbelief.

3. MEET AS MANY PEOPLE IN THE AUDIENCE AS YOU CAN.  On the day of the speech be there at the venue early -- preferably the day before if you can. Meet as many people as you can in the lobby, mingling events, breaks and lunches. Introduce yourself, explain that you are a speaker and summarize in a few words your key message. Later when you start to talk these people know you already so you have a connection with them. They will also be more open to your ideas because they have met you, and they might start nodding as you speak, giving the others in the audience the social proof that they need to accept your words, too.

Once you have actually started to talk you have to fall back on the usual advice to start with something very compelling, a question or a story. But never try to tell jokes unless you are a professioal comedian. Presenting your message in an amusing way can be very effective but the telling of jokes is best left to professonals because it is much harder than you imagine.

Lectures, Workshops, Coaching, Writing.

For lectures, workshops, one-to-one coaching and writing on advanced speaking/influencing and other communication topics visit, email or call me on 0033 6 79 61 42 81 in France and 0046 730 894 475 in Sweden.

Other Posts on Related Topics 

How to Deliver Impromptu Speeches Without anxiety
Three Keys to Making an Effective and Interesting Presentation
Presentation Technique: Pointing Without Pointing
How to Add Passion to Your Presentations and Speeches