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Sincerity Overcomes Skepticism

Sincerity is KeyAfter my last post titled "Give Before You Get", I had a great email from someone asking...

"How do I make sure I am not the slimy guy who's just helping people to get favors? How do I make sure that I stay genuine?"

I appreciated the note, and it's a great question!

I think each person has to ask this of themselves each day.

Zig Ziglar, an exceptional motivational speaker, often used to say:

"You can get everything out of life that you want! ...if you help enough other people get what they want."

I believe that's true. However, I also believe that motives and the heart with which you do those things matters greatly as well. If it's clear that you are "the slimy guy who's just helping people to get favours", it's unlikely that most of those favours will ever materialize... AND you'll have a reputation as a "slimy guy"!  Don't be that guy!

The answer is... Sincerity.

If you sincerely want to build relationships, and be a blessing, a pleasant surprise, a welcome connection, a valued resource and a friend to those you meet, it will become evident. It will be evident in your words, in your body language, in your face, and in your generosity.

In the 1970's TV show M*A*S*H, Hawkeye, in one episode was trying to get a date with a particular nurse, and was having no luck at all in charming her. BJ, his best friend and tent-mate suggested that instead of trying to find a way to play her... he try sincerity. Hawkeye's response was... "Oh, sincerity, I can fake that!"

It was a funny line, but everyone understood that it was a bad idea. Real sincerity can't be faked. Faked "sincerity" becomes evident quickly, and the "slimy guy" reputation is born.

Checking your motives and determining you want to be of value to others will make the difference in all of your phone calls, meetings, casual conversations, and interviews as well. Before every contact, remind yourself that you truly want to be of help to the person you're about to engage. It's an opportunity for a new professional relationship, or perhaps even a friendship. Take the time in advance and during the conversation to think about who you know, what you know, or what you could offer that would be of help or of value in some way. Not just a token contact name or uninformed piece of advice that you throw out to them, but something that truly hits the mark.

It's possible, and highly likely many times that you can't come up with anything... and that's OK. However, SINCERELY expressing your desire to be of help somehow goes a long way toward planting a seed for future further contacts.
Don't fake it, and don't be the "slimy guy".

True sincerity will quickly erase whatever skepticism your contact may have... and then they will be much more interested in helping you as well!


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Give Before You Get

Job Seekers often express discomfort about networking because they feel like they’re beggars for leads, referrals, and ideas. That sense comes from a misconception and mis-application of how great networking should work.

Finding ways to be of value to your contact makes the connection much more equitable and a professional give and take.

Job seekers doing a lot of effective networking in their search are inevitably building a very valuable collection of contacts. People in a wide variety of professions, in a variety of industries, at a number of companies, etc.

Some of those contacts may be a great resource to some of your new contacts!

Offering to help them reach out to people that would be helpful to them is a great value and a great way to reciprocate in the networking process.

Asking your networking contact what challenges they are facing in their position, in their company, or in their career may trigger a recollection of someone else that may have some insight, ideas, experience, or advice for their situation.

Asking what kinds of positions they are hiring for, even if it’s not for your background, may enable you to recommend others that may fit those other roles and help in their hiring process.

Asking about hobbies, sports and other favorite pastimes may bring to mind people with like interests that may be happy to meet others that participate in the same activities.

Asking a variety of questions about your contact will invariably lead to some ideas of how you can be a valued contact to them. Asking them about themselves gets them talking and makes you more interesting to them… people like to talk about themselves, and like people that give them the opportunity!

While networking may not be the most attractive part of a job search for most people, it can be a terrific way to build relationships, a valuable list of contacts, and a way to be of value to everyone you meet!

If your networking conversations are premised on a ‘give before you get’ philosophy, you’ll find them to be far more productive, and more enjoyable as well!


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