How to network and build value based relationships?

    Building Value-Based Relationship

    Building value-based relationships mean building a relationship with someone not only because you like them but also because they have something that you need and you also have something to offer them. To build a robust value-based relationship, one must have the orientation of a giver, i.e. giving creative gifts and offering oneself as a resource. There are so many advantages to being a giver. For example, you invest in the person’s emotional bank account with a gift or act of kindness or service, creating a sense of loyalty. Any support or favour you seek within the person’s capacity will only be seen as deserved. This is not bribery; you should create a culture of sending gifts long before you’ll ever need to ask for anything. Thoughtful gifts have been seen as one of the most effective strategies for networking. Your gifts will always make way for you. For example, if you have been looking at asking someone to mentor you or give you an internship opportunity, the easiest way to establish such a relationship is by consistently offering yourself a resource and giving them creative gifts long before you ever need to ask for any favours.

    What is Networking?

    Networking is the art of raising social capital. Social capital is the currency that you need to be socially relevant. Money gives influence because you can easily buy resources, but if you know how to raise social capital, you can compete with someone who has the money or even better. People are more valuable than money. Even fundraising starts from friend-raising. This is why we hope that you will focus on raising friends. People whose primary focus is raising funds without raising friends may end up committing social bankruptcy/suicide. 

    Social bankruptcy is when there are limited people you can ask for a favour from because you don’t have enough relationship/influence with the people around you or have asked all of them for one favour or the other before. You can not ask them for one another. When you seek favour, and people tell you they don’t have it, it’s often not that they don’t have it at all. They don’t think that the value you offer is deserving of their limited resources.

    Some steps to follow in networking to building value-based relationships:

    Understand that perception is reality: People don’t often have the luxury of time to understand your reality. They tend to stick with perceptions. The way you look, the way you dress, what is on your social media page, the quality of your brand, how correct and accurate your message appears all have a part to play in this. Let everything about you speak excellence and value from afar. Let them price you as expensive from afar so that when you get close and offer yourself as a resource, they don’t price you less.

    Always be ready to meet people: As a development enthusiast or practitioner, you must have a personal elevator pitch.  This is how you unforgettably introduce yourself in 30 secs. It should project a clear area of focus, what you have done and what you need. It is tactical to try not to introduce yourself first. Get the second mover advantage by asking people to introduce themselves first. This way, you get the advantage of projecting your area of interest that aligns most with theirs. And not make the mistake of sharing what is not relevant to the person.

    Choose your connections carefully: Understand that you do not need everybody, be strategic and tactical about who you decide to spend time with. Divide everyone you meet every day into categories (We will talk more about these categories in the next lesson). Knowing the place of different people in your life gives you the advantage of maximizing your relationship with them.

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