A very minor but very humbling thing happened to me recently. You see, I’ve been listening to “How To Make Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie on audiobook as I make my daily drives and I’d realized my perspective on the idea of Networking through Social Media was perhaps, a bit off. I thought that if I were to re-read my own article, I might be able to have a newly educated discussion with myself.
But what did I find? One of my drafts was posted in its place! There was no record at all of the final product with my carefully structured questions. Instead was the Introduction paragraphs, the ones that set up the question for my readers to ask themselves to then answer by the end of it. And then, it simply had a reminder in parenthesis to talk about the Dreamworks Example.
That’s all; it wasn’t anything atrocious or controversial. I didn’t write any hateful comments to later be erased – none of that. But I can’t tell you how foolish I felt when I saw my childish complaints just… end. “These instances are not what I’m talking about”. That was the last line of the draft, aside from my personal reminder. “Oh, Okay then” I’m sure you must have thought after reading that partially thought out argument. I was ironically thankful at that time that I have so few followers; at least only a handful would have seen my embarrassment.
Luckily, I do a lot of my writing in my email. It’s an odd technique I’ve picked up along the way but emails auto-save and when I’m done with a writing session, I can send what I have to myself for easy continuation. I held my breath as I rushed to my search bar – what a relief it was to find my completed article sitting contently in the Drafts folder!
This small experience made me stop to think about how quickly one is to rush to judgement when we have so little information about the topic. Anything foreign to you. An opponent’s Political View, a different Religion, an unknown custom; take your pick.
Upon reading “Make Friends”, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I naturally already do the advice given. I would say I do them “to a lesser degree”. I don’t bend over backwards, as some of the illustrations paint the master of the craft, but within my own bubble of comfort, I am very empathetic and I try to be understanding and sympathetic to others’ and their perspective.
I say this to merge these two learning opportunities. I wanted to remind myself of Christi Soper Hilt, so that I could test the skills I’ve learned from Carnegie’s book in a real-world scenario. I resigned myself to the fact that Mrs. Holt would never be the outlet in which I would audition for Dreamworks but she is an immensely inspiring woman. Perhaps I could form a sort of Mentor relationship with her and learn even more skills to take along in my journey. While opening myself to the idea of reaching out to an Industry Contact for a genuine, authentic reason with no ulterior motive, I had to admit that I was contradicting my “Necessary Evil” blog post. Perhaps I was too hasty in my condemnation of Social Networking?
But it’s still something I am personally struggling with; how do I make a faked “accidental meeting” feel genuine and organic? Am I approaching it from the wrong angle? Should the building of a relationship be priority and the potential business be “bonus”? Because I can get behind that. But unfortunately, that’s not what I’ve been taught in these seminars.
You see it here; a kernel of an idea that I’d already been struggling with. Perhaps these seminars had been telling me this all along but didn’t explain it correctly or in full? After all, it was in one of these seminars that Mr. Carnegie’s book was first recommended to me.
The heart of the lesson was lost in translation. I was told to reach out first, without sending a demo, to establish a relationship and then open it up to mutual benefit. But at the very least, what was forgotten was the how. How does one establish a relationship? Well for one, by not focusing on the “mutual benefit” at the end!
There’s nothing wrong with speaking to someone about a shared interest. Certainly, that is what the mingles and meetings for the industry are about. But, as stated in my previous post, that is not the part I take issue with.
When you reach out to someone on a personal platform, you need to keep it personal.
Indeed, past-self, you were approaching it from the wrong angle. Building the relationship is not the “priority”, it should be the sole purpose. Approaching someone with an ulterior motive will make the other person question every sentence that falls from your lips. But if you take a genuine interest in the other person as a person, not a “casting director” or “producer”… suddenly, you very much do have the foundation of a relationship.
I think the saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” is a bit misleading. Certainly, there are cases where someone not qualified has gotten the job but that doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone with ‘industry contacts’ faked their way to success. But people generally wish to help out their friends. They notice their achievements and support them in their dreams. The saying should rather be “Those with Friends, Succeed.” It essentially is saying the same thing, but with one key difference: