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What The Pros Know About Networking That You Don’t

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When I was on the Today Show a couple years ago, I sat down to prep a few minutes before air time. About 45 seconds before we went live, Meredith Viera came onto set. She took one look at the topic sheet, then reached out to shake all of our hands. In the next 30 seconds, she asked a couple questions to get to know us, and then we started the segment.

What was fascinating was that, within those 30 seconds, she was so personable that we instantly felt a connection to her (“Wow, she’s so friendly!”). And I realized that the masters — like the world’s top TV anchors, politicians, and business leaders — are the best for a reason. One of their skills is the invisible talent of being able to instantly connect with someone. Bill Clinton, for example, is legendary for this.

How was Meredith able to instantly connect with all of us? Was it about the words she used? The body language she employed? Or was there something deeper going on?

Building soft skills and deep personal relationships is a mystery to most of us. And what we don’t understand, we’re skeptical of.

That’s why we’re almost all skeptical of “networking” and “building relationships.” We all hear phrases like “The majority of jobs are found through personal contacts.” But how does that actually work? How do you go from knowing your friends to turning that into jobs?

We don’t understand how this works, so we create false dichotomies like…

  • “Whatever, networking is for douches”
  • “I’m not good at selling myself”
  • “I’d rather get a job based on WHAT I know instead of WHO I know”

They say hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. I will add Ramit’s Maxim #38: Hell hath no fury like an anonymous internet commenter who sees something going on he does not understand. Witness the angry comments on my Lifehacker post from yesterday.

We get skeptical of things we can’t immediately grasp. We see people who are doing insanely impressive things (like my students earning tens of thousands of dollars), and we don’t understand how it’s possible they’re doing it but we cannot. So we start throwing around words like “Ugh, he’s just a networker/slimeball/fake.” This is for people we’ve never met, but we’re sure they must be…otherwise, how would they be doing so well?

To try to do something about it, we seek out shiny tactics to earn more and find our Dream Jobs. We try them — like tweaking our resumes and finding a new job website — but we’re never really sure which random techniques will work and which ones won’t. We’re basically shooting in the dark, never aware of the entire game being played around us.

The Million-Dollar Sentence: Some of the best advice I’ve ever received

A few years ago, I got introduced to a senior person at a company very similar to IWT — except they were earning $40m/year. I was curious to learn what insights they’d had along the way.

“Ramit,” this woman told me, “your tactics are great, but over time, they’ll become commodities. But when you can connect with people’s psychological and emotional barriers, you can massively help them.”

My initial reaction was denial: “You don’t understand…my tactics are REALLY GOOD.” But a few days after that call, I started to understand.

Now, years later, I think about that simple sentence almost every week. If you’ve been reading my site for years, you’ve seen the changes over time — I’ve stuck by my idea of providing you the best tactics to earn more, save more, and get an edge in life, but I’ve also started to rail against “information seekers” who simply want yet another tactic…without ever delving into their own psychological barriers.

In fact, I could give you the best tactics in the world, and if you have psychological barriers, they simply won’t matter. There are infinite numbers of worthless bloggers who will give you “Top 10” lists…but we already KNOW we should be spending less than we earn. We “know” we should be networking. We “know” we should be working out.

Yet we don’t. Why?

The subtle answer to this question is why I’ve been able to get results for IWT readers like this — and why most “experts” continue writing yet another worthless piece on 5 ways to save on groceries — or useless career advice.

And it’s precisely what we’re going to dig into today — a look behind the veil — in the area that has been the single-most influential area of my life.

* * *

What we WANT vs. what we NEED

I get a lot of people emailing, wondering how I grew my blog or monetized or got on TV. Or sometimes they just want to know about themselves, like how they can interview better or find their passion.

What they WANT is a shiny tactic — like the actual email scripts I used to reach out to people. Losers love tactics.

What they NEED is to understand the strategy behind it.

I realized that the sites that provide only tactics quickly become a morass of useless, pageview-generating “Top 10” lists desperately consumed by shiny tactic-seeking losers.

Yet sites that provide “strategic advice” are often so high-level that they’re not actionable.

I want to give you both, but show you how they work together. Earlier this week, I gave you the actual email scripts you can use to meet extremely busy people.

Today, let’s go deeper. Let’s examine the strategy and psychology of building a great network — a group of people who WANT to help you. A group of people who keep an eye out for jobs and can actually get you hired at jobs that aren’t even public yet. We can ALL have friends and business relationships like this — and none of it involves being sleazy, slimy, or scammy.

Let me show you how.

How To Separate Yourself from Scammy Networkers

Michael Ellsberg at Forbes just wrote a long piece on building relationships and the importance of single-author blogs. He quoted me at length:

“I asked Ramit the Million Dollar Question: let’s say you’ve identified this Holy Grail blogger. How do you get on his or her radar?

“Here’s the worst way. The worst way is to send one email with a ton of content saying, ‘Hey, I would love for you to review my product. I think it’s great. I think your readers would really love it’ and then it’s just a bunch of gibberish markety stuff.

“Guess what? Any big blogger gets at least 50 of those a week. I wish we could answer all of them, but they just get deleted. The more effective way is to take a long-term approach. The real misfortune is that nobody else does it. So people will nod and say, ‘Yeah, I should really do that,’ and then they don’t.

“You want to focus on the idea, ‘I’m going to add value to this person over time.’ The first thing you could do is leave some thoughtful comments on their blog. Next, you could send them some email saying, ‘Hey, that was really great, but I thought you may have missed this one point. Here’s an interesting article with a different perspective on it.’ If you thought it through and did some research, the author will think, ‘Wow, thanks very much!’ and you are not asking for anything.

“All of a sudden now you’ve differentiated yourself first by adding value. You are not going directly for the kill. Eventually, you could reach out and say, ‘Hey, these are a couple of things I noticed you’re doing that I think that I could help with. I’d love to connect you to this person, etc.’ Then eventually, you can ask, ‘If it’s okay, I just want to ask you for about 60 seconds,’ and ask them about your thing and say, ‘Do you have any advice?’ and ‘Do you think maybe this might be interesting to your audience?’

“No pressure. One mistake people make is they often have a ‘one shot and done’ attitude about this: ‘If I don’t get my pitch in, and they don’t like it, it’s over.’ Wrong. It’s really about building a relationship over the long-term. Sounds like a lot of work? Good! Because 99% of people will not do that. That’s why they will send one email, it will be rejected and they’ll complain that, ‘Oh this blogger’s not nice,’ or ‘Oh, it’s too hard to get media. If only I had connections.’ The point is to reach those people, it’s not about luck or magic, it’s about being really thoughtful and systematic about how you can help them first.”

Now let’s deconstruct what’s going on there.

The 5 Barriers to Becoming a Master Connector

Networking is one of those things we nod, shrug, and say, “Yeah, I need to figure that out.” But we don’t:

Ironically, in our search for tactics, we become less and less likely to take action. We say things like, “I don’t know where to begin.” Two days ago, I gave you scripts and powerful tactics to start meeting busy people so you could learn from their expertise and shortcut your learning cycle by months or years. How many of you actually did it?

Instead, we constantly search for more and more tactics. And we make assumptions that people who network are sleazy, etc. It’s easy to be skeptical on the internet.

All of these are assumptions, but we never test them. Some of my really good friends, like Tim, are consummate networkers, but if you met them in person, you’d just like them because they’re cool and fun.

It turns out that we have deep psychological barriers around networking. And because it is such an invisible art — with no clear step-by-step formula — it’s easy to let the barriers overwhelm us.

Watch this video where I deconstruct these very psychological barriers:

Based on our research of 20,000+ people, here are some of the top psychological barriers around networking. Remember, without understanding your own barriers, no tactic matters.

  • “It’s not about WHAT you know, it’s about WHO you know.” This phrase has been bitterly spit out by countless unemployed Brooklyn hipsters who make me want to take their plaid Keffiyehs and shove them…never mind. You know what? They’re right! The more you progress in your career, the more important relationships are — sometimes even more than your technical skills. So you can either (1) Whine about the way the world is constructed and complain about the President/tax policy/geo-political affairs and why you don’t have the right connections, or (2) Learn the skills of meeting the right people, helping them, and learn the invisible game being played around you.
  • “I’m not the kind of person who could network. I hate selling myself.” The invisible script here is “only naturals know how to network” and “I’m not that kind of person.” Wrong, wrong, wrong. When you meet people who have learned to build long-term relationships, you realize how much practice they’ve put into it. There’s a secondary invisible script here: People who use this phrase typically don’t have any positive role models as examples of ethical networkers. It’s not sleazy or slimy. In fact, it’s the height of serving other people — like how my friend got $20,000 of my time.
  • “I wouldn’t know what to say.” Of course you wouldn’t — you haven’t done this before. I look back at some of my early emails to meet people and they were just awful. But you study the greats, you practice, and you get better. If you ever heard a kid saying, “But I don’t know how to ride a bike!” you would laugh, pat him on the head, and shove his ass on that bike. You would not let him use “I don’t know how” as a crutch…for the rest of his life. Again, I can’t wait to be an Asian parent.

3 Case Studies: Learning Instant Soft Skills

I recently ran a program called “Dream Job Elite,” a focused course where I taught a small group of students some of my most inside material on finding Dream Jobs, interviewing, negotiation, and soft skills.

I invited them to New York and spent hours and hours showing them subtle tweaks on how to improve their storytelling, persuasive skills, and body language. As much as I wish I could help everyone one on one, this was an elite, $12,000-a-head program designed to demonstrate that all of us can make rapid gains using subtle soft skills.

I want to show you these examples because they’re people just like you — who made massive gains in their ability to connect with people.

“I used to think I was really good at networking, but this…showed me what a novice I was…”

“I used to think I was really good at networking, but this module showed me what a novice I was.

I knew that important people were always busy, but I never took the time to think through what they were feeling on their end and how to impress them by making their lives easier.

I’ve reached out to 5 people who are either directly related or indirectly related to my first choice and second choice dream jobs. I used the methods in module 4 to craft emails that were brief but effective with specific times so it makes it easier to say yes… I’m waiting to hear back from three and the other two already responded but we’re working through scheduling conflicts. I should be able to have coffee with them sometime around Thanksgiving.”
— “Jessica,” Dream Job Elite graduate

“Of the 5 e-mails, I got 4 responses. 3 offered to respond…”

“I really think this [course] gives more structure and guidance to how I approach networking.

The multi-touch strategy is a great way to keep in touch without just taking and never giving back. It is also an easier way to follow up after the initial meeting, which I’ve always had trouble with, and gives me guideposts on what I should be doing after the initial meeting.

I reached out to 5 people this week. All were cold e-mails to people I do not have connections with. Of the 5 e-mails, I got 4 responses. 3 offered to respond to questions and communicate via e-mail.”
— “Steve,” Dream Job Elite graduate

“I’d honestly never even considered this…”

“[I learned] very specifically what my goals should be from these initial meetings with experts on my potential dream jobs. Prior to the lesson, I understood the general idea that I should be getting in touch with experts on particular job titles, but now I know exactly what my I’m after: 1) “Would I enjoy this job?” 2) “Can I get this job and how to best do so?”

[I learned] that acting on an expert’s advice is a way to add value back to them. (I’d honestly never even considered this). I’ve always gotten hung up on how to give value back to an expert who’s helped me. This always turns in to a barrier for me and I tend to not follow up for a long time. And I always assumed their advice was for me to simply take back and execute quietly on my own. So, it’s great to understand that top performers really do like seeing their advice put into practice and knowing that a new contact is succeeding.

Have reached out to 6 UI Designers at Apple in total so far RESULTS: 50% response rate = 1 IM chat, 1 email with my questions answered, 1 offer to answer my questions on Quora.”
— “Lance,” Dream Job Elite graduate

By the way — I have the actual before & after videos, showing the actual teardowns and techniques employed. You’ll be astonished when you see them. And I’ll give some of you access, soon.

How can you apply this TODAY?

I love pointing out that there are always hundreds more comments on the posts where people can just jot down something they feel vs. posts where I ask them to do something concrete. It’s a classic example of using small barriers to avoid kooks.

You saw this earlier this week, when people spent tons of time writing email scripts…but how many of you actually emailed people and set up a coffee meeting?

Today, I challenge you to try putting this into practice.

* * *
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155 Comments on "What The Pros Know About Networking That You Don’t"

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Paqui
Paqui
4 years 8 months ago

I always thought that networking meant buttering up but recently, I realized that it means being politically savvy. But I’m still stuck at not knowing how and feeling I am not able to achieve it.

Lori
Lori
4 years 8 months ago
networking doesn’t mean being politically savvy. it means connecting with people who are related to you in some meaningful way, and you can use that connection in a useful way. networks are comprised of people who can help one another – not necessarily with a job or a boost up, either. maybe they just help one another by being another smart person doing similar work who they can tap if they have a quick question. the way to become a PART of a network – or to begin to build your own network – is to do just what ramit… Read more »
Lori
Lori
4 years 8 months ago

to clarify – you don’t have to be doing similar work to be in someone’s network, obviously. in fact, some of the most important people i’m connected with do completely different work – that’s what makes us so valuable to one another.

Paqui
Paqui
4 years 8 months ago

I will try to start commenting more on internet forums from Monday.

Raj Rajendran
4 years 8 months ago
Being a technology person, I always felt that networking was a under handed way for unskilled folks to go up the food chain. I am not a social person (Cannot think of a life without my PC and my remote !) and I am not very good at remembering names or making small talk. I have reached a cross road where I need to make a conscious decision on how to move forward and the points you make here resonates. I need the architecture and framework to be completely successful. What you teach are that architecture components. Thank you. I… Read more »
Kris
4 years 8 months ago
I can’t believe I’m commenting on one of your posts and risking your wrath – but I’ll accept your challenge today. My barriers to networking include my own perception that other peoples time is more valuable than mine (which is odd, because when people ask me to mentor them I’m always happy to make the time), and being a natural introvert. I’m consciously working to break the introvert habit by joining professional organizations that require me to meet and work with new people. By Monday, I will identify at least three people in my industry that I will contact. I… Read more »
Jessica
Jessica
4 years 8 months ago
I thought networking meant needing friends-of-friends to introduce you to someone, but now I realize that with the right strategy I can reach out to someone even if we don’t know anyone in common. The part that’s tricky for me is identifying who exactly I would like to reach out to. I would eventually like to move to Seattle, so I would like to make contacts with people at colleges out there who are doing the kind of data work that I’m doing now in Chicago. Since that’s a bit far away for an in-person meeting, I’m going to identify… Read more »
Kate
Kate
4 years 8 months ago
My barriers to networking: 1. I used to think networking was something you did only when you needed a job — so I never made contact with anyone until I was on the verge of unemployment. I’ve since realized that all my emails/calls sounded the same: “Hey, I’m looking, so if you hear of anything….” Now I take time every week to send a note to one person in my network about something unrelated to my career goals — something I saw I think they might be interested in, a compliment on a recent project of theirs. 2. I was… Read more »
Georgia
Georgia
4 years 8 months ago

I couldn’t agree more with you! I feel the same way now about commenting on Ramit’s posts! It’s like the exercise you always say , ‘yeah, I should do that’, but just keep postponing! I’d better get on with my commenting!

Sarah
Sarah
4 years 8 months ago

I like your point #2. When I was in college, I e-mailed a professor at the end of the quarter to tell him how much I enjoyed his class and though X, Y, and Z techniques were really helpful. I got an e-mail back saying he had a friend who was coming back from sabbatical to teach the same course, he’d noticed that I got an A, and would I be interested in a TA job. I’d never even talked to this professor, but a simple thank you got me a flexible part time job while I was in school.

steve ward
steve ward
4 years 8 months ago

I’ve done the same thing by not replay instead of been to busy doing what he outline and getting feedback so i could respond with better questions.

Kate
Kate
4 years 8 months ago

Re: Limiting beliefs — Ramit, you must know the work of Carol Dweck, right? I think you would be doing your readers a huge favor if you did a post on her mindset research. It fits hand-in-glove with your own work, but she’s also done (your favorite thing!) quantitative, documented research to back up her conclusions.

PJ
4 years 8 months ago
1) I always thought that networking meant figuring out who you already know and getting help from then but recently, I realized that it means that the only limit to your network is the amount of work you put into developing it. But I’m still stuck at finding more interesting people to contact! 2) Nothing, I’m not waiting until Monday. I’ve sent three Emails this morning already to brand new contacts at a place that I’d like to call my dream job. One Email to an old contact that I’ve developed a relationship with. Since you last post I’ve also… Read more »
PJ
4 years 8 months ago

Update: Of those 3 Emails I sent this morning I already have one meeting set up…

Do Work!

Richard
Richard
4 years 8 months ago
Hey Ramit! I got this email on my phone and I had to run to the computer to comment. I am a part of the Lifehacker crowd and have been for a few years. I started reading Lifehacker because they said they are all about productivity and making life easier through “hacks” and whatnot. The thing is I have not been ANY MORE productive since I have started reading posts on Lifehacker than I was about 3 years ago (which is why I have stopped and have jumped ship to IWTYTBR). The Lifehacker crowd is a “tactic” crowd. The very… Read more »
Johnny Mean
Johnny Mean
4 years 8 months ago

Good for you for looking at your results and making a change! The Earn 1K course is awesome!

Your Earn 1K alumni,

Steve O
Steve O
4 years 8 months ago
Ramit, you need to stop reading all these negative comments. I know you feed on stupidity, and you also like good feedback, but it seems like you read every comment on every blog you guest post on, which can’t have a net positive result. Anyway, I think you can learn a lot about people by how they respond to the kind of initiative the “Briefcase Technique” shows. People with low self-esteem CAN’T believe that you can get a job by providing value in the interview: they think if they just “try harder” they can be the best cog in the… Read more »
Mia X
Mia X
4 years 8 months ago
In college, I get invitations to networking events and I always cringe thinking about how I will introduce myself and maintain a relationship that tries to be covert with its real intentions. Networking doesn’t have to happen in a large room filled with people sitting, eating and listening to speakers. I realized, I actually know quite a lot of interesting successful peers (college students and older) but they’re busy and I’m busy so I don’t keep in touch with them. In fact, my friends are those interesting ones while my acquaintances are more “average.” By Monday, I will set up… Read more »
Kurt
Kurt
4 years 8 months ago
I doubt that I can provide you with an ‘aha’ moment like the ‘senior person’ you mention, because I think you know very well what you’re doing. Most of this post is reframing the conversation, or in more direct terms, changing the subject. The Lifehacker commenters were complaining about your beloved long-form sales page, not the specific technique you were presenting. Maybe Lifehacker is not your target audience? I have suffered through some of your long pages, and I’ve learned that the nugget of useful content will be obscured in the text and available only in the video. I can… Read more »
Ben Miller
Ben Miller
4 years 8 months ago
Networking Barriers: 1: You have to have more interesting stories than everyone else, I don’t feel like my are cool enough 2: Deeper voice and a lot of business cards required. I have a good speaking voice but all the networkers I know have these James Earl Jones Basso voices that I don’t, and they hand out biz cards like it’s going out of style. 3: If I network, people will want more of me than I want or will be able to give. Mostly in the moral section. I plan on working up an email to reach out to… Read more »
Joy
Joy
4 years 8 months ago
Thanks, Ben. Your #3 point there really jumped out at me as a big invisible script I didn’t know I had. I’m scared that if I put myself out there, people will demand more of me in return and I won’t be able to deliver. I’m scared that I’m going to start building a great network and then the introvert in me is going to start getting overwhelmed with the increased social activity and flee back to the safety of the cave, rendering all my efforts completely worthless. Guess now I have to figure out how to beat that one…
Joy
Joy
4 years 8 months ago

(That “figure it out” comment was sarcastic, BTW. I realised after I hit submit that it wasn’t that obvious. I’d hate you all to think I was going to just sit around and try to “figure it out…” Crap, now I’m rambling… Ramit must really hate me…)

BV
BV
4 years 8 months ago
I really hope this is obvious, (and probably been discussed somewhere else) BUT – there isn’t a discussion of how you get the INFORMATION that goes into the briefcase. For example: recent graduate, wants to become management consultant. He dutifuly reads books on the subject, googles the main companies, done mock interviews etc etc and has done his homework in general. I don’t understand how, without insider knowledge, this graduate is going to know what the company is doing “wrong”, in a DETAILED way, to provide value. (If the information is available, producing solutions should be pretty straight forward, but… Read more »
Whittney
Whittney
4 years 8 months ago
This, this is the one concern I have. Say I’m a graduating law student. I know what I want to do – I love research and writing, so I want to work at a firm doing the drafting and document review and research. I can create a legal memo on a hypothetical issue in one of the firm’s practice areas, and use that in the briefcase method to showcase my skills… but that’s just a hypothetical. It does nothing to add value to the interviewer or firm *right then*. I can’t exactly start independently working on one of the firm… Read more »
Kate
Kate
4 years 8 months ago
BV & Whittney, Man, I gotta spend less time on this blog. I’m starting to hear Ramit’s voice in my head. What he’s recommended in the scenarios you describe is that before you go into the interview, you’ve already met and talked to several people inside the organization, and from those conversations, you’ve extrapolated an issue or two they need help with. And from my contact with the corporate world, I can definitely see how that could be executed. The challenge with other fields — and law might be one of them — is that your future employer might be… Read more »
Alex
Alex
4 years 8 months ago

I like you Ramit and I appreciate all of your valuable insight, but that was just a long-winded way of telling us not to listen to Brooklyn hipsters, which goes without saying.

Ornella
4 years 8 months ago
Hi Ramit, You did a great job with this post and the one on Lifehacker. Not sure how the “skeptics” misunderstood the technique. As for the skeptics, there will always be “haters.” For any interviews or partnership opportunities that I look for, I always research the company and compile a few stories (related to the position or opportunity call) to exemplify my skills before I meet with anyone. When I reach out to experts in my profession, I, too, make sure to avoid LONG emails. I keep in the back of mind that people are busy just like me, and,… Read more »
Val
Val
4 years 8 months ago
The Lifehackers wanted TIPS, Ramit, why didn’t you give them tiiiips? 1. I always thought networking meant going to mixers or conferences where EVERYONE was schmoozing. But reading this article just made what you’ve been saying for years click (ugh I guess I am a little slow in reforming my psychbarriers): A one on one meeting is more effective because a person has carved out time to talk to just ME and those minutes will be higher yield than running into someone at a conference. I also need to get over wanting to give my pitch and getting better at… Read more »
Val
Val
4 years 8 months ago

Update: I was accepted to that medical school. Yup.

Will
Will
4 years 8 months ago

Recently moving to a new city I thought I was doing good talking to my friends asking if they knew anything, anyone in my desired field. I had many people say, “Oh I know this person or you should meet so and so” but I didn’t know how to really follow up and make the transition from a name drop to actually contacting that person. I realized my friends weren’t going to do it for me and now I have three specific people in my industry that I have emailed using your scripts (modified) from the other night. Fingers crossed.

Lindi Horton
4 years 8 months ago
My barriers to networking are predicated upon my other challenges. Primarily I have not done as good at job at networking as I should because of poor time management rather than any perception that networking is somehow sleazy. Networking was how I received 4 job offers when graduating with a CS degree at the bottom of the Internet bubble bursting, which was unheard of. I’ve never landed a job interview in any other fashion.But I am primarily looking to get from good to great by increasing my skills in networking and putting more emphasis on this soft skill. I’ve always… Read more »
Alexander J. Rinehart, MS, DC, CCN
1. I always hated networking events because I felt it was a “show”, but truly it’s Lots of people taking the wrong techniques like automatically taking my business card and turning it into an e-mail subscription (big no-no to me), but the leaders are always the ones who consistently look to connect you with the right people and/or right information whether you use their service or not. 2. Early sales pitches without them having any idea of what I do or what my needs may be or “let me take you to lunch” aka let me pitch you and make… Read more »
Shaan
Shaan
4 years 8 months ago

I always thought that networking meant going to conferences, cold-calling on successful people, getting business cards and emailing them (emails lacking clear objectives) but recently, I realized that it means developing relationships, getting to know people, how they got up there and becoming a student of their thought process and strategies. But I’m still stuck at an analysis paralysis stage.

By Monday, I will have identified 10 people to connect with and located most of their contact information along with a draft of emails to at least some of them.

John | Married (with Debt)
4 years 8 months ago
3 Barriers I Have = (1) Not sure if I want to stay in my current field (politics), leaving me unsure where to network; (2) I am unsure whether I should approach mid-level people or go straight to the big dogs ;(3) I am hesitant to network with people who are influential in what I want to do, yet I don’t agree with many of the things they say/do What Will I Do by Monday (BE SPECIFIC) = I am going to email you, Ramit, because everywhere on the path I have chosen, your name is there (even on my… Read more »
Tanya Malott
4 years 8 months ago
Sometimes when I am at a loss about ‘next steps’ I like to do something totally unexpected. Two weeks ago, my brain was so tangled with options that I did the only sensible thing…I consulted a tarot reader. I asked her if I would ever be a wildly famous and successful photographer (less Annie Leibovitz, more Lillian Bassman….who is great, but most people haven’t heard of). Her fabulous answer was that I did not lack talent (phew!), but I was not being ‘seen’ by the people who could help me. She basically said that with a year of concerted networking,… Read more »
steve ward
steve ward
4 years 8 months ago

Tanya Malott that sounds exactly what Ramit is talking about but that just me

Heather
Heather
4 years 8 months ago
“Networking” always conjured up mental images of smarmy sales guy with a handshake and a wink, and I believed my work should “talk” for me. But I realize now that expressing genuine interest and making an effort can make a big impression. About a year ago I contacted an industry professional in my field on a whim. I found him on a “movie business” directory for my state. We emailed and I even visited his studio. By Monday, I will find at least 2 local professionals that are doing what I want to do. I want to work in movie… Read more »
Will L.
Will L.
4 years 8 months ago
I always thought that networking was all about the elevator speech and telling people why I’m so great. I’ve never been good at this. While watching someone do this very thing at a startup networking event, I realized that will usually get a recruiter to tell you to go to the website. To me, that’s a fail because you might as well not have talked to them face-to-face for all the good it did. I then witnessed another conversation that had better potential for results. What made this conversation good was that an important person was talking about one of… Read more »
Kathryn
Kathryn
4 years 8 months ago

I always thought networking in my current city was a waste of time because I want to relocate. But recently I’ve realized, hey—I have connections in other cities, why would I assume other people don’t?

Kathryn
Kathryn
4 years 8 months ago

P.S. I love Twitter for networking because its an easy way to jump into conversations or be helpful to industry leaders and people you’d like to get to know better.

Anne
Anne
4 years 8 months ago
I always thought that networking meant being a bubbly person who is really good at talking to strangers but recently, I realized that it means being a lot more intentional with who you are trying to contact. I’m not really stuck, but I would love some sound advice on how to deal with a huge room of people at a conference who I probably should get to know. I get totally overwhelmed and don’t talk to anybody at these things and then hate myself afterwards because I probably missed out on a dozen amazing opportunities. It seems like the kind… Read more »
Madison
Madison
4 years 8 months ago
Psychological research has shown us over and over that most people who rate reviews on any material product tend to be more negative in how they view the world. While we all have our own experience, our own perspective on reality, we tend to mold others experiences into what we know and say THIS is truth. The greatest teachers of the world have always said, when we identify someone or something as wrong, we cease to see that it is our ego’s that are not seeking out understanding. In order to understand others, compassion (which is yes, an emotion you… Read more »
Will
Will
4 years 8 months ago
1. I always thought networking was a way to get ahead without doing any work, but now I realize that networking is an important part of the work! 2. I usually get nervous when emailing a new contact that I would look stupid or waste their time, but now I know that if I approach things the right way, many people would be happy to talk. 3. I used to be resentful of people who went to a bigger-name grad school, but now I know that I have the power to make contacts on my own anyway (I’ve already done… Read more »
Tabitha
4 years 8 months ago

I always thought networking was about selling yourself but now I realise that it’s really about first creating a connection with someone. Knowing this I’m still stuck on the fear of being rejected suprisingly enough – but the only way to test this is to actually do it.

So on Monday, I’m heading down to the local newspaper office to make a connection there and email the 3 potential contacts I’ve identified but procrastinating over getting in touch with.

Alfred
Alfred
4 years 8 months ago
Risking the wrath as well, but commenting: 1. I always thought networking meant being fake, but recently I realized that it means truly connecting on a professional level. But I’m still stuck at how to maintain that relationship in a mutually beneficial way. 2. I’ve already started by seeking out people who I admire – using internet, newsletters, or friends – and contacting them via brief, to-the-point emails simply asking to pick their brains and promising not to take up more than 10 minutes of their time. I got two responses last week, and have told them I plan to… Read more »
Whittney
Whittney
4 years 8 months ago
Identify 3 barriers you have about networking: I’m a serious introvert – I have to push to connect to people. I’m one of thousands of shiny new going-to-be-law-grads, so it *feels* like there’s no way to break through the door into firms and actually connect to people. Low social needs mean I have low social skills. Tell me 1 specific thing you will do by MONDAY — 3 days from now — to start on the path to meeting interesting people. As I’ve been planning to do over this weekend since your email scripts posts, I’m going to spend several… Read more »
John | Married (with Debt)
4 years 8 months ago

Sorry, I just had to chime in here.

“Low social needs mean I have low social skills.” I feel like this describes me very well. Do you mind if I “steal” it?

Whittney
Whittney
4 years 8 months ago

John I Married,

Go ahead and steal. It describes me perfectly too.

Ed
Ed
4 years 8 months ago

I always thought networking meant using connections to get things you don’t deserve, but recently I realised that it means helping someone else (nothing wrong with that) and occasionally asking for a hand yourself.

But I’m still stuck at overcoming my fear of rejection when contacting someone cold.

By Monday (by the way here in Australia I have 1 less day by committing to this deadline) I will have emailed a local entrepreneur with knowledge of the industry I’m looking at to buy them coffee or lunch.

Daniel
Daniel
4 years 8 months ago
Ramit, I must say I’m new to your blog and so far I’ve been impressed with the quality of your posts. One thing I have noticed is that you seem to enjoy making death threats, so I’ll try to stay on your good side. Here are a few of the psychological barriers I can think of: 1) I am an introvert. I fact, I have a very hard time carrying on a conversation. How can I network if I don’t know how to talk to people? 2) I have low self confidence. I often feel inadequate and would probably have… Read more »
LNEngland
LNEngland
4 years 8 months ago

I always thought that networking meant that I’d have to spend a lot of time at industry parties throwing my business cards out to anyone and everyone on the chance that someone MAY show an interest, but now I understand it’s about what I can do for them and developing genuine working friendships. However, I still have issues with how I introduce myself so that I don’t feel as if I’m coming across needy and have no value to them.

LNEngland
LNEngland
4 years 8 months ago

Addendum: Since I don’t live in the same area as the people I’d like to network with, I’ve started identifying people in my industry that are in similar positions that I’d like to get into on LinkedIn and emailed them to turn them from cold contacts into warm contacts. I’ve done this with three people on my list so far, and will be sending out another 5 on Monday.

Nick
Nick
4 years 8 months ago

I have found a barrier in my inability to be a non-awkward conversationalist. I don’t have a lot to say. I realize that I need to put hard work into thinking of questions and conversation starters and praying for the person ahead of time – we genuinely care more about people that we invest time in.

I will set up a meeting with a man I want to be mentored by right now!

Hashim Warren
4 years 8 months ago

I was on MTV using “The Briefcase Technique” during a reality show before I knew it had a name. See me use it here: http://www.mtv.com/videos/hired-hello-beautiful/1652038/playlist.jhtml

Henry C
4 years 8 months ago
1) I always thought networking at work meant sucking up to people I’d rather not suck up to and feigning interest in their projects/priorities/etc. so I could keep my job/receive a promotion/get a raise. Now I see that if I placed myself at companies that reflected my values and that I really wanted to be a part of, my interest in others’ projects would be genuine, my desire to help them with these projects would be genuine, and networking would feel more like friendship than more work. Wow. 2) I always thought networking meant “schmoozing” insincerely with strangers who didn’t… Read more »
cole
cole
4 years 8 months ago
1. I always thought that networking meant going to a “meet up” or some big industry event but recently, I realized that it means networking can me as simple as asking a person for one-on-one advice over lunch, coffee, or a drink. But I’m still stuck at who to ask and how to offer myself up to help them in some way shape or from. 2. A friend and I have already begun to organize an invite only beer tasting in order to network with other people from the beer industry to form long term connections with them. By Monday… Read more »
Ashley
4 years 8 months ago
Hello Ramit. I am new to your work and enjoy it. You make me laugh. The funniest bit is that your message is something I have known since I was a child. People are people no matter where they are in life – from the editor of Vogue to the person begging on the street. If we connect to them as people, rather than as a title or a cog in a wheel, they will connect with us as people. The concept, “It’s not what you know but who you know,” gives me comfort, because it supports the belief I… Read more »
LISA HUGH
LISA HUGH
4 years 8 months ago
Leave a comment: Identify 3 barriers you have about networking I always thought that networking meant going to an event to meet strangers but recently, I realized that it can include seeking out individuals based on their position/knowledge/company/etc. But I’m still stuck at identifying who I should seek out.”) Tell me 1 specific thing you will do by MONDAY — 3 days from now — to start on the path to meeting interesting people. I have a meet and greet set up for tomorrow at a nonprofit that provides support to pregnant women. I am also going to set a… Read more »
Georgia
Georgia
4 years 8 months ago
I always thought that networking meant exchanging business cards and just showing off on names and getting a job without being really qualified but recently, I realized that i do to prefer to have someone referred than to look out or reply to a pitch, i also use my immediate network when i need a second opinion, i realized that it means having a support net, a resource pool for where you can reach out to get help, a feedback or just an advice. But I’m still stuck at how to really make it ‘work’. Next steps: review my linked… Read more »
Zach
4 years 8 months ago
1. Easy: whining about the status quo. Difficult: learning and acting on networking skills. Admirable: changing the status quo. I think networking and the “who you know” reality of job searching is a pervasive, and universally defended, form of prejudice. Ramit summarizes our choices: “(1) Whine about the way the world is constructed or (2) Accept this construction and adapt to satisfy your own comfort.” In this example, those skills are networking, but this general dilemma of “adapt to bullshit because it’s not changing” has much broader implications and historical parallels. Think about racism in the 60s–if everyone accepted this… Read more »
Pam
Pam
4 years 8 months ago
1) I think of networking mainly as a face-to-face interaction, and that the folks I want to talk to are so busy, that I only have one chance to ask for my bottom line (say, at a conference). 2) I don’t always know the best way to contact the people I’d like to gain advice from. 3) My job makes it difficult to follow up by phone during the day, though, I’ve found ways around it in the past. (Finding a quiet, private place to speak is nearly impossible. I take most of my calls outside or in my car.)… Read more »
Michael
Michael
4 years 8 months ago
Barriers: 1) “I don’t know how.” –I learned through experience networking is a skill you have to practice, but I still fear it because the “stakes” are higher now–I care more. 2) “I’m not good enough/not worth their time.” –Maybe I’m not! But I’m starting to see, if that’s the case, then I need to MAKE myself worth their time by being prepared, open to their advice, and ready to take action based on it. 3) “I don’t know where to go/who to talk to.” –Tells me I have lack of focus/fear of failing/fear of rejection. I also don’t know… Read more »
Sarah
Sarah
4 years 8 months ago
I think your clip on limiting beliefs might be one of the most useful things I’ve seen on your site. I’m one of those people who manages to put on a confident and apparently convincing display while feeling like I might be watching my own execution. Between measurable achievements, my limiting beliefs always creep back and can slow me to a standstill, which of course makes me more worried. Hearing repeatedly that such limiting beliefs are normal helps me move ahead. (You should, however, admit you’re wrong that everyone has them–we all know pathologically arrogant types can bubble to the… Read more »
Vicki
Vicki
4 years 8 months ago

Even though I am doing well in my profession, this site is helping me realize I could do better. Today, I emailed my supervisor’s supervisor to thank him for calling me last night and to tell him how excited I was by some of his advice.

I am going to start following up when someone reaches out to me. I am taking time this weekend to review data that will be useful to me and my supervisors. I will share my knowledge to improve both the place that I work and my position in it.

raj
4 years 8 months ago
This is my first comment here and I am commenting because I took action and got results. After watching your video about networking and building a network that I will need tomorrow I reached out to two people in my industry and left comments on their blog posts. These comments added value info to their post and to one of them I offered some tips to get more subscribers (basically things that have worked for me and he was not doing). Result: I met one of these guys for coffee and he spent an hour with me talking about the… Read more »
A Viescas
A Viescas
4 years 8 months ago
“We get skeptical of things we can’t immediately grasp. We see people who are doing insanely impressive things (like my students earning tens of thousands of dollars), and we don’t understand how it’s possible they’re doing it but we cannot. So we start throwing around words like “Ugh, he’s just a networker/slimeball/fake.” This is for people we’ve never met, but we’re sure they must be…otherwise, how would they be doing so well?” I think you could use an introduction to the Lifehacker mindset, because the reason why your post bombed is that your content strategy and LH’s content strategy are… Read more »
Galen
Galen
4 years 8 months ago
A Viescas, You and I are on the same wavelength, amigo. I was thinking the exact same thing about the reaction on lifehacker, AND the failure of communication according to audience. It’s true that LH’ers love free stuff and hate advertising, but I think many would also not like Ramit’s advice anyway. Check out the comments on this post: http://lifehacker.com/5874647/why-i-wont-hire-you I LOVE this post; it has “actionable advice” bleeding out of its eyeballs. The post is succinct and beautiful in its brevity–plus, every section has a “I hate X, here’s why, and here’s an example; I love Y, here’s why,… Read more »
A Viescas
A Viescas
4 years 8 months ago
Galen, (replying to my own comment since I can’t seem to reply to yours) That’s an interesting article. I have to say though that in this case, it probably wasn’t the content either. The author of that post adopted an intentionally provocative attitude, from the title, “Why I won’t hire you” to a lot of the advice, where he assumes if you have a bad resume you’ll write rambling emails. I think in this case, if you intended to be this provocative, then a lot of angry comments it’s a sign of success. (whether or not it’s good to be… Read more »
Galen
Galen
4 years 8 months ago
Well, you have a point. The tone of articles really frame the context in which people view its material. I’m guessing that an article with a provocative tone is either targeted towards an audience that doesn’t mind or likes that sort of thing (who would naturally like its content better?), or else it’s just poorly conceived. I’m wondering if the content of Ramit’s post or this other one would be appreciated and acted upon if they were presented in a different way. That may not be the point of them, though. Guess I just need to “figure it out” later… Read more »
Joy
Joy
4 years 8 months ago
I actually love that Ramit repeats himself to some extent in his posts. His mindset is logical, and yet so foreign to me that it takes me several repetitions to truly internalise what he’s saying. I try to read all the posts and a lot of the comments too, and slowly I’m starting to get a grip on this whole new way of thinking about things. I guess it’s a bit like learning a foreign language by moving to a different country and immersing yourself in the day-to-day life of the locals. Fluency is only gained after a lot of… Read more »
Ilan
Ilan
4 years 8 months ago

1. I feel when I’m networking like I have to worry about my agenda, as though I’m trying to steal something from the other person or do something covert. I realize that this has been a barrier preventing me from meeting amazing people and making friends/connections.

2. This week I too the scripts Ramit gave us and turned them into canned responses on gmail. On monday I will be using them to send to the list of people I brainstormed this week.

Carmen
Carmen
4 years 8 months ago
Leave a comment: Identify 3 barriers you have about networking (e.g., “I always thought that networking meant ____ but recently, I realized that it means _____. But I’m still stuck at _____.”) Tell me 1 specific thing you will do by MONDAY — 3 days from now — to start on the path to meeting interesting people. Do not say something vague like “I’m really gonna try hard to think about who I should meet,” because if you do I will kill you. BE SPECIFIC. Barriers to networking: I am all for networking – my big barrier is just getting… Read more »
Colleen
Colleen
4 years 8 months ago
I always thought network was just an opportunity for professional big wigs to booze each other and trade business I never really thought it was something that would be a useful thing for me or how I could use it in my own life. Now I realize that it’s a good way for me to meet people who are doing the things I want to do and learn from them. I’m introverted and I feel like I don’t know the right questions to ask or will not express myself properly and that really holds me back. I only just read… Read more »
steve ward
steve ward
4 years 8 months ago
Leave a comment: Identify 3 barriers you have about networking “I always thought that networking meant a lot of work but recently, I realized that it means small steps of testing. But I’m still stuck at breaking it down into small bits, While not bombing the person I will contact with to much info at the same time getting over my barrier that i can not do this .”) Two things i have done are finding 10 dream job idea’s and narrowing them down to 3. Now what im going to do on Monday IS find 5 people from each… Read more »
Sean G.
4 years 8 months ago
Not all of Lifehacker’s readers were unswayed by the information found on IWT. I can say that within the past 24 hours I’ve revisited and begun to revise (and hopefully improve) my resume, cover letter templates, personal action plans, and yes, even how I’ll interview my next time out. It’s interesting that many people (myself included) have demanded that, in the workplace, we should be judged objectively and hired/promoted based solely upon our merits and performance. However, in our personal lives, most people wouldn’t dream of marrying or even befriending someone simply because they ‘have all the right qualifications.’ We… Read more »
Sean G.
Sean G.
4 years 8 months ago

Lol, thanks to RamiT…

You’ll have to forgive me, I’m new!

Steve
Steve
4 years 8 months ago
Great article. I have always thought that networking meant to meet as many people, and to reach out to as many people as possible. I realized now that building a network for the sake of building a network is meaningless, and that the quality of your network, and the quality of the relationships you develop is more important. I have been stuck at building a network for the sake of building a network. Other barriers include using my own limiting beliefs to hinder me from reaching out to possible mentors, or industry experts that I can benefit learning from. By… Read more »
Steve
Steve
4 years 8 months ago

To continue from above…..The informational interview will be my first step into focusing what I can control. It will be first step of using my limiting beliefs to gain and acquire perspective and knowledge.

Great article. I have bookmarked this to read and watch the video clips again this weekend.

steve
steve
4 years 8 months ago

1/22 Update

I sent the email I intended to send after Friday’s post. I started a dialogue, and 2 days later was asked to send a resume a.s.a.p. This was an email exchange to gather insight and perspective, not to see what job opportunities there may be. Who knows where this will lead, but this has been very empowering.

Deepest Thanks.

Jenny Weston
Jenny Weston
4 years 8 months ago
3 barriers 1) incompetence. I know I am not good – so I avoid situations where my incompetence will show. This ensures that I will never get good at creating initial rapport. 2) Fear. I tell my male friends: “He who hesitates: Masturbates”…. when I get sick of them complaining about meeting women. Then I do the social equivalent of wacking-my-whillie. 3) Entitlement/Avoidance. The script starts like this: “it Should NOT be so difficult”. Inaction, self deception and excuses follow. Monday: Screw Tech events — they (*mostly) suck. To get connected get in touch with events where top performers go.… Read more »
Adriana
Adriana
4 years 8 months ago
My barrier to networking is that I’m shy and rather socially awkward. I never know what to say in order to strike up a conversation or relate to others, especially those in a position of authority. What I’m going to do about it: since I’m a student at college, I’m going to start going to my professors’ office hours, at least once a month. (I’ve already gone once, and it went better than I expected). That way I can improve knowledge in the class and have a better relationship with my profs, which will be especially helpful when it comes… Read more »
Tina
4 years 8 months ago

I always thought that networking meant promoting yourself / your business at large group meetings where everyone else is doing the same thing. I’m finding out though, that it’s more connecting with people one-on-one to see if you can create a beneficial relationship. But I’m still trying to figure out the line between connecting with someone on a more personal level versus over-marketing myself or my business.

By Monday I plan to have modified Ramit’s scripts to send e-mails to all of the relevant LIONs in my LinkedIn contacts list.

Alex Berman
Alex Berman
4 years 8 months ago
1) a) Delivering value to people before you meet them is my main hang up, but I know now that sometimes being curious and actually following advice is the value. b) I also never realized that I should be reaching out to people with the job title I want, and asking them how they got there. c) The third thing is I thought I had no connections. Since I started telling people what I want to do (account executive at an ad firm in New York City), my family and friends have been giving me contacts and actually helping. 2)… Read more »
Cathy
Cathy
4 years 8 months ago
Fake it till you make it works. We paralyze ourselves when we think confidence precedes action. The cycle is like this: We are confident about a skill when we don’t realize that we’re not good at it. Once we realize we might suck, our confidence tanks. So we practice the skill and get pretty good at it, but because we still have to think hard to do it well, our confidence is still low. Until, almost without us realizing it, we’ve mastered it. Just one day, because we’ve done it enough times, the skill becomes second nature to us. We… Read more »
Cathy
Cathy
4 years 8 months ago
How do you network with confidence? Work with what you KNOW that you have. What are you CERTAIN about regarding your performance? Are you the anal proofreader who will never let a document get sent out with errors? Are you always at work 10 minutes early and are still the last one to leave? Can you write code faster than anyone you have ever worked with? What’s your thing, your standard, that you have complete confidence in? Why do we all listen to Ramit? He is totally convincing because he actually truly believes what he is saying. And he has… Read more »
Melissa
Melissa
4 years 8 months ago
Hi, Ramit. I’m very excited for the interviewing webcast! Anyway… NETWORKING BARRIERS (1) I’m afraid people will ask me questions I’m not prepared to answer (i.e. what do I think of some obscure building or some technical issue I’m not familiar with) and I’ll look like an idiot. People like to do that in my industry to prove how much smarter and more well informed (i.e. better) they are. (2) I’m afraid people will think I’m a fake – I’m trying to break into a higher pay bracket (one my *parents* broke into only a few years ago). I’m just… Read more »
JiaXuan
JiaXuan
4 years 8 months ago
3 barriers I have about networking: 1. I thought networking meant being interesting myself to meet interesting people. How you say “Tim Ferris is a cool and fun guy”, I would think,”I really want to meet him but I’m not cool enough for him- I’m just too young and naive and too serious! Plus, I don’t have anything else to give back to him. I add no value to his network.” 2. Now I realised making the personal connection with that someone is the way to go. Be human, be emotional. 3. But I don’t know how to read people… Read more »
Aaron W.
Aaron W.
4 years 8 months ago
***Identify 3 barriers you have about networking (e.g., “I always thought that networking meant ____ but recently, I realized that it means _____. But I’m still stuck at _____.”) Barrier #1: I always thought networking meant begging for attention, but recently, I realized it means adding value to someone’s life REGARDLESS of whether they eventually respond to you or not. Why would anyone help me if I provide nothing in return and come off sounding pathetic? Barrier #2: I was always a shy, introverted person, and I thought networking would be uncomfortable, but recently, I realized that everyone is shy… Read more »
Clare
Clare
4 years 8 months ago
You know, Ramit, I stopped commenting here several months ago because I felt like I was just echoing all the other responses. I never realized how much just verbalizing my own plans was helping me to follow through. Anyway. Networking. I always hated “networking” *eyeroll* because the career counselor at school made it sound like I was supposed to constantly ask favors and use people for what they could offer me. Plus I never thought I had anything of value to offer people in return. Final nail in the coffin? I tend to freeze up at awkward moments socially, and… Read more »
Liz K.
4 years 8 months ago

I always thought that networking meant being a naturally an extroverted person. Someone who was born to mingle without hesitation. Since I’m introverted by nature I thought networking was something beyond my abilities. After reading your article and reflecting on what other people had said, I realized that it means building long term relationships not just acquaintances. Which is something I like to do. But I’m still stuck at finding people to network with or just not sure how to start.

Jamie
Jamie
4 years 8 months ago

I always thought that networking meant being slimy & self-centered but recently, I realized it means adding value to those you are reaching out to. But now I’m stuck at having the courage to reach out.

By Monday, I will have met with my friend Jessica – who is also following your program – we are having coffee to go over each other’s resumes and ideas on who to contact/if we have contacts for each other to meet. I also WILL identity 3 Art Directors to discuss their paths to success.

Stephanie
Stephanie
4 years 8 months ago
I’m generally pretty good at contacting people and asking them out to coffee but I find following up after an initial meeting to be really hard. I also struggle with time allocation (ie how much time to spend on what people, how to balance making these relationships with other work tasks and parenting). I am unsure how to bring value into relationships with people that are more senior to me. By Monday, I will find contact info for the 10 people I want to meet when I am in NYC in late February, with a plan to contact them on… Read more »
Kaylene
4 years 8 months ago

Ramit:
I started typing something in here but to be honest, by the time I was done I realised it was too personal to be out there for the whole world to chance across in a simple internet search.
It may seem cowardly but quite frankly I don’t give a hoot if you or anyone else reading this thinks that way. The main thing is that I’ve been honest with myself and have taken a step in the right direction.
Thanks for this challenge – it’s been a worthwhile exercise.
Cheers.

Ben
Ben
4 years 8 months ago
1- I thought networking was doing sales in the dark, but I’m coming to believe it’s more like a train that gains momentum especially as more passengers board your network. Of course it takes energy and time to keep relationships nutured, but once you get a considerable momentum its hard to stop. I’m struggling with how and what does that look like. And how do make it to liftoff. 2~ I’ll follow up with my contact who forwarded my resume over to a friend who placed it on the hiring managers desk. Ill make sure not to drop this relationship… Read more »
Jane
Jane
4 years 8 months ago
I’ve already overcome a networking barrier! Last week I went to an educational event related to my industry with the intention of re-connecting with one of the panelists (she interviewed me for an internship years ago)–not only did I have a great conversation with her, but she remembered me and we’re already talking about a collaboration between our companies. I also talked to 1 other panelist and the event coordinator, who were interested in what I’m doing. Sometimes the biggest barrier to overcome is being afraid to go up to people and introduce yourself. I just went for it and… Read more »
Ke'Aun Charles
Ke'Aun Charles
4 years 8 months ago

I’m a pretty shy guy and nervous about talking to people, so that is a hindrance to networking, plus I never really knew how. By Monday I will email two people who have worked in the Government and try to learn from them.

paul
paul
4 years 8 months ago
Thanks, Ramit, for your incredibly open sharing of information. I am now actually seeing through (as opposed to analysing away) many of my self-limitations around career, jobs and networking. These small but liberating daily epiphanies are an experience, not just another concept to, as you say, “figure out”. 1. My long-term barriers about networking are closely interrelated: I thought that all networking required 1) another person thinking of me as better/more impressive than them so that they would look up to me and want to be part of my world, 2) me feeling weaker/less than another person and therefore trying… Read more »
Will Grubb
Will Grubb
4 years 8 months ago

Networking was easy when I was a known name in the local market. Now that I am an unknown in a different market, the need for networking is critical, but the opportunities aren’t as plentiful. It is taking more work to identify opportunities, and more effort to show up and gain traction. I will review my Linked In groups and identify new events, then put them on my calendar.

Ben B.
Ben B.
4 years 8 months ago

Ramit – Your material on overcoming self limiting beliefs is true.

Concerning fearlessness, it’s those who feel fear, and choose to go beyond it, who become fearless. Fearlessness is not the abscence of fear, but feeling fear and choosing to move forward.

Mabel
Mabel
4 years 8 months ago
My barriers biggest barrier to networking is the fear of “wasting” people’s time. My Asian parents have taught me to be considerate to others and I might have taken that to the extremes. Always making up excuses for people even before they reject me. Coupled to that is my fear of rejection and worrying that I have nothing to offer back in return. Come Monday, I have been invited to an event by a mentor I plucked up enough courage to contact. She has a few people she wants to introduce to me. I am going to get out of… Read more »
Ben B.
Ben B.
4 years 8 months ago
I used to think that networking was about how many phone numbers you had in your phone. I used to think that I wasn’t interesting enough to network with people. That I missed some “IT” factor. Nonsense. I used to think networking was 10 different events in a week, and belonging to every single chamber. By Monday I will have a list of 10 people in my industry who I want to have an informational interview with. Every high up person in my field has a Bio online and an e-mail address floating around. I will read their Bio’s, get… Read more »
Louis Blythe
4 years 8 months ago
Hey Ramit, Since I started reading your stuff I have tried to put most of it into practice. So far I feel like I have gained some good momentum. After this post I have realized I need to double my efforts. Due to the fact that I am in a creativity industry (photography) networking is paramount for word of mouth and referrals. I have been slack and not connected often and strongly enough because I was intimidated. That all this week! I am going to reach out to five successful local photographers and pick their brains about how they not… Read more »
Lisa
Lisa
4 years 8 months ago
Leave a comment: Identify 3 barriers you have about networking (e.g., “I always thought that networking meant talking to people but recently, I realized that it means building relationships. But I’m still stuck at how to start (finding the right people and how to add value to their life). -Any suggestions on what we should do to meet said interesting people? I will re-read your e-mails / blog posts for tips on how to start, find one (i.e. e-mail script) and use the tip. Some other ideas are ask: people in your current network for people or introductions. Identify your… Read more »
sphinx
sphinx
4 years 8 months ago

Let’s go :
I always thought that networking necessited feeling 100% sure about everything (yourself, your coolness, your worth, your knowledge…) but recently, I realized that it means building soft links you can grow over time to help others and to better oneself. But I’m still stuck at how to make the first approach without feeling like a 13y old girl asking a boy to go to the movie…

On monday, I will speack to three new person at a meeting I attend (at the same time as your webcast, sadly…). I’ll DO instead of listen, at least

Divy
Divy
4 years 8 months ago
I always thought networking was grimy. More than anything, I thought I was above networking and that I could just work hard and people would gravitate towards me. Instead, I’ve come to realize that people like to network (read: talk about their life). More than anything, I’ve developed some genuine connections – not grimy/sleazy at all. I also thought networking required coming from some sort of privileged last name, where you were essentially born in to a powerful network. And you were automatically invited to fancy teas and parties. And I thought penetrating such a network would be nearly impossible.… Read more »
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Stacy
Stacy
4 years 8 months ago
Leave a comment: Identify 3 barriers you have about networking (e.g., “I always thought that networking meant ____ but recently, I realized that it means _____. But I’m still stuck at _____.”) Tell me 1 specific thing you will do by MONDAY — 3 days from now — to start on the path to meeting interesting people. Do not say something vague like “I’m really gonna try hard to think about who I should meet,” because if you do I will kill you. BE SPECIFIC. 1. For me networking was just another name for being used. As a senior marketing… Read more »
Randy
Randy
4 years 8 months ago

Years agoI felt networking was a waste of time. In the last couple of years I have realized the importance of it. I feel like I do a much better job networking, but have let a couple of negative people knock me off track.

On Monday I am going to reestablish contact with a person that I have not been in touch with in 7 months.

One question: I have a second interview with a Regional Manager, the hook is it is phone interview. Could you offer advice on phone interviews?

Catherine Warren
Catherine Warren
4 years 8 months ago
3 barriers: Networking is sleazy. Networking means I’m selling myself the same way as a whore — based on someone else’s subjective judgment of me and not on my actual skills. Networking is not for an introvert like me. 1 specific thing: I arranged an informational interview for noon today with a woman in an industry I’d love to get into, who has openings on her team. I’m taking my resume, notes from a previous informational interview with another person at the same company and in a similar position, and a list of specific questions to see if this would… Read more »
Heather Craik
4 years 8 months ago
1. I always thought networking meant going to those meeting things with a bunch of people you don’t know, trying to talk to at least some that could be ‘of use’, and this nebulous thing called ‘making connections’. Recently, I realized that it’s about building a bond, of a sort, with people you have some connection (or none) to and learning how you can help them and about what they do. But I’m still stuck at getting to coffee. By that I mean I’m capable of contacting people and starting conversations, sometimes I can even be quite helpful and learn… Read more »
Brent Markus
4 years 8 months ago
1. I used to think that networking was only for young dudes that want to sell stuff (ie people I assume go to networking events). I also used to think that trying to get in touch directly with someone that interests me is stalker-ish, but it’s really only like that if you do it like a weirdo Another networking barrier I had self imposed is that I don’t like coffee — as weird as that sounds every time I heard “Just take them out to coffee” I thought “But I hate coffee!” Now I realize that’s dumb and also that… Read more »
Joshua Gonzales
Joshua Gonzales
4 years 8 months ago
I used to believe that the most interesting people were impossible to reach but I realize now they just don’t want to waste their time with ignorant people. I am still struggling on understanding exactly what they really want to hear. I used to believe that my thoughts weren’t interesting enough for anyone but I realize now I was just not conveying them in the right manner. I still struggle with keeping a positive energy when interacting with others. I used to believe that networking ended as soon as you make initial contact but now I realize it’s really about… Read more »
Geoffrey Williams
Geoffrey Williams
4 years 8 months ago
I always thought networking was really drunk 40 somethings at some event begging to be noticed by someone important (Usually only 1 important person there). I know now that asking people about their jobs and building a network of helpful and thoughtful people isn’t only good for job searches, but also becoming more confident and happy. So, I’ve found out that i’m three degrees from the CEO of AFLAC ( he lives in my town and is very connected everywhere). Goal by Monday: Email the three people in charge of the charities he donates to. End Goal: To Get his… Read more »
Armon
Armon
4 years 8 months ago
Ramit, I am a long time subscriber, book included. Your info has helped me accomplish quite a bit. Besides you’d be honest with me so it’s only fair I be completely honest with you. Your writing & blogging style need improvement. Making assumptions why LH didn’t like the article is unacceptable, especially from you. Lifehacker has a technical audience. They read, apply, & move on. The legitimacy of the briefcase technique was never in question… the way it was presented was. Key Issues: 1) The video is above the headline post. People start blogs from the headline & move down.… Read more »
Franke
Franke
4 years 8 months ago

1. I used to think I couldn’t really network because I thought my network was too small. But I know that I’m just a few degrees away from people who can hire me.
2. I will ask for introductions from people I know who know people at the publications I want to work for.

Doka
4 years 8 months ago
– I used to think networking was something I just couldn’t do. It was something other people were good at doing. I realized that I was thinking that because I was trying to network in a field I didn’t care to add any value to. Ever since I shifted my career focus, the idea of networking is… exciting! I want to add value to the industry and everyone I meet. I have more confidence to meet people because my goal isn’t simple “to network because you’re supposed to” but to benefit everyone concerned. – I’ve already started doing this, but… Read more »
Nephi
Nephi
4 years 8 months ago
I have a question about your webcast. Are you actually going to be giving specific tactics and scripts that a person can use? Every podcast or article of yours that I have seen/read, with the exception of the podcast on how to negotiate a cancellation of a bank fee, has claimed to give scripts, tactics, etc. but then it never does. For example, in the 80/20 guide you spend the majority of the time saying what you will show us how to do, but then you never get around to actually showing us how to do it. In the briefcase… Read more »
Kevin
Kevin
4 years 8 months ago
Ramit, interesting article, I work at a company in a position that many would consider a dream job. So, I really didn’t feel the need to network because I was thinking of it in terms of ‘external networking’ for the purpose of getting a job, getting a better job, etc. While reading your article, I realized that if I’m not networking within my company (of many thousands), I’m leaving opportunities in the table. I’ve already got 3 people in mind that I should be developing stronger relationships with and how I can add value to them, I’m getting in touch… Read more »
Sandra
Sandra
4 years 8 months ago
1.3 Barriers a.I thought that the message (and me) had to be perfect but now I realize that they will become more polished as I practice. b.I thought that I should wait until I reached (an ever changing) life milestone in order to reach out but realize that I don’t have to give my life story so I can focus on whatever I want. c.I thought that I would only have one shot to connect. Now I realize that I can practice before sending to the people high on my list and, if I am polite and friendly, I could… Read more »
Brock
Brock
4 years 8 months ago
1.1 I wasn’t comfortable without a strategy that made me pro-social. I want to be a “good guy”, not Vinny the used car salesman, AND I DIDN’T KNOW HOW without feeling like I was spinning my wheels. Now I have the Informational Interview / find a way to help / light touch techniques to be that good guy that also gets results.  1.2  I felt I didn’t know the right people to network. Now I realize I need to play the six-degrees game. Work with the network I have and it will grow in serendipitous ways.  1.3 I didn’t have… Read more »
Janine Jankowski
Janine Jankowski
4 years 8 months ago

Lifehacker who? Must be a slow news day when you are writing a post in reply to 2 or 3 comment-ers that don’t get it. Keep Rich and Carry On.

Kerry NZ
Kerry NZ
4 years 8 months ago
I was just reading an article on Putin and thought the following was quite relevant here: Contrary to some early accounts, Putin was never a spy or a thug in the KGB. (The tough-guy image he projects is largely playacting.) Most of the stories we have collected about the way Putin operates show that he prefers a softer, quieter, more subtle approach. He performs unforgettable favors for people, even strangers, on the theory that one can’t predict how prominent they might become. He collects information about people and circumstances that will help him relate to them. Putin’s job in the… Read more »
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Michael Enquist
4 years 8 months ago
Well, I don’t really care if Ramit sees every time I’m implementing the ideas he’s learned from others and is sharing with us now, but I am. *I already have been networking regarding my ideal career at a company where I believe, based on current evidence, that I will do well for myself by doing well for others, and I continue to research the company, learning about their reputation with their clients and the ultimate beneficiaries of their products, to see if how much more about them I can like, and if there is anything about them that I would… Read more »
JaneMD
4 years 8 months ago

I recommend reading as a start for your mindset is the classic Dale Carneige ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People.’ Always helps rewire the antenna.

Mihaela
Mihaela
4 years 8 months ago

Ramit, thank you for inspiring me to take action!

always thought that networking meant finding the person you need by accident (or some kind of magic) but recently, I realized that it means searching and approaching the right person. But I am still stuck at feeling embarrassed how to write the letter.

I will write a letter asking for advice that I am already procrastinating for 2 weeks.

Jean
Jean
4 years 8 months ago
My barriers: 1. To me networking meant being outgoing and taking advantage of what other people had to offer you. I love learning that a major part of networking is centered around what you have to offer someone else. I love the concept of building long term relationships where you add value to someone else’s life. However, I tend to get stuck on what I have to offer. I feel like I don’t have the resources, knowledge, or skills to help others. The quote above talking about how sharing ways you’ve used an expert’s advice adds value back to them… Read more »
Nate
Nate
4 years 8 months ago
Identify 3 barriers you have about networking (e.g., “I always thought that networking meant being annoying and trying to hassle people at “networking events” but recently, I realized that it means being interested in people and taking an interest in what they do and THEN contacting them to find out more about THEM. But I’m still stuck at finding the right people to contact.”) 1 specific thing I’ve done. E-mailed a friend about his role as a negotiation tutor, and any other people at his company that I might be able to contact to find out whether the industry is… Read more »
Matt
Matt
4 years 8 months ago
Some barriers to networking: – I feel like I’m not worth important people’s time. The more interested I am in somebody, the less I want to “take them away” from their important things—I don’t think I have anything to offer. – I don’t really understand the purpose of networking, what to DO with the people you meet. I totally understand that who you know is more important than what you know, but I once I’ve made an acquaintance my sense of what to do next with that connection is faint. – I don’t like competing for attention, and think that… Read more »
Kelvin
Kelvin
4 years 8 months ago
-I’m given the name of a person to contact, but I do not know the best way to approach this person. I rarely, if ever, receive a warm introduction. -When I do talk to people and ask probing questions. I often receive advice consistent with my current approach, which does little to edify. The high rate of this occurence influences my decision to shift from seeking the advice of others to finding the answers myself. -I complete suggested tasks and follow-up. But more often than not, I do not receive timely responses (sometimes weeks/months at a time). This causes me… Read more »
Brad
Brad
4 years 8 months ago
I always thought that networking meant telling people what you’re capable of but recently I realized that it means letting them know how you can help them. But I’m still stuck at figuring out how to identify specific ways to help people. I responded to a cold-LinkedIn email from a recuriter for a company whos product I use first via email then by phone. I scheduled a meeting with the recruiter’s technical counterpart for an informational interview. I also contacted former coworkers of mine who I felt were better fits for the position the recruiter was trying to fill. When… Read more »
Brian F
Brian F
4 years 8 months ago

3 Barriers:
“Nobody is going to be interested in talking to me.”
“I don’t have the knowledge or experience to know how to talk to professionals in my field.”
“I don’t know how to sell myself.”

A specific step: Make email contact with one person at each of three local firms.

PS: Wish I could make the webcast, but have a prior commitment. That’s okay – it’s out of my control, and I don’t need to ‘know everything’ (i.e., “figure it [all] out”) before getting started.

Larry
4 years 8 months ago

Networking means – looking into someone’s eyes when saying, in 30 seconds something that will lead to another 30 seconds.

Veronica
Veronica
4 years 8 months ago

I thought networking was about getting better at talking about myself, but recently I’m realized it’s about talking to other people about themselves. However, I’m still stuck at deciding who to talk to, and convincing myself I can add value for them.

Bryan
4 years 8 months ago
I used to go to the Chamber of Commerce’s Business After Hours networking events because I always thought its what networking was all about. I now realize that pretending to be interested in everyone’s company at these events is a waste of both of our times and I needed to be researching my 1or2 top dream companies and doing background work on problems I could fix for them and courting current and or former employees of these companies to dig deeper into how I can best apply my talents at that company. But I’m still stuck at being too virtual… Read more »
catherine renee'
4 years 8 months ago

Thank you for sharing. I have experienced attending the local business networking groups that most of the people are only interested in themselves and superficially interested in others and was a waste of time, which is what you mentioned. Mind you, a majority of the attendees were middle aged or older. I like your idea of focusing ones time strategically on companies and taking the time to research and actually entertain and actualize fruitful connections.

Mana
Mana
4 years 8 months ago
Identify 3 barriers you have about networking: 1. I always thought that networking meant duplicitous manipulation but recently, I realized that it means helping each other over time. But I’m still stuck at connecting the high level strategic thinking with the tactical nuts and bolts. 2.I let myself get mired in the details instead of actually contacting. (or: Instead of pulling the trigger, I fixate on finding their contact information.) 3. I fall repeatedly into the short one shot method without trying to actually connect with the person and help them with something they might be having issues with. To… Read more »
Michelle
4 years 8 months ago
I always thought that networking meant going to a strange place and talking to strangers who I had nothing in common with, but recently I have learnt that most of the other people there will be as nervous as me. I still find it hard to bring up what I do and how my work could help them in conversation, as this seems “pushy” somehow, despite the fact that I genuinely think I could help. Before Friday (3 days time) I will call the local council up to find out about local child care options, to make it possible for… Read more »
cbereal
4 years 8 months ago
Psychological barriers do keep us from creating the life we truly want and I believe the core of those barriers condenses down to fear. I agree with what you said about taking the time to get clear in ourselves and sometimes it takes incredible courage to face those barriers as I have experienced. I have gotten help to discover and restore myself to confidence . The cost of not doing this inner work would have kept me from believing I can have my dream job and from living an honorable life. I appreciate what you have to say, Ramit, on… Read more »
Stephen Smith
Stephen Smith
4 years 8 months ago
3 barriers about networking? I must be honest, until very recently I fell into the “networking is for sleazes, the world shouldn’t be about who you know” trap. Of course the world is about who you know. When you know a person, you know their skills and so much more. You can get a lot more information through a person than you can through a resume. Networking isn’t sleazy at all – it’s common sense. That’s a former barrier. The barrier I have now is developing expertise about networking. Like Ramit, I am a former experimental psychologist. There’s a lot… Read more »
Aaron Yoshitake
Aaron Yoshitake
4 years 7 months ago

‘I probably have about 20 tabs open right now, and while I might not get to them all tonight, they will not be closed until they are all read.”
I feel ya – I’m trying to get caught up on all of the material Ramit’s posted. At least I’ve got a week until the class starts.
Oh, and I recommend the FreshStart Session Manager Chrome extension for masses of tabs. It’s great for saving off your currently-opened tabs and going through them at your leisure (though I should warn you – out of sight, out of mind.)

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Nadeem Khan
4 years 8 months ago

Very detailed info here … it’s very useful for me !

Thanks for such great detail as other blogs only scratch the surface of networking !

Hannah M
4 years 8 months ago

Networking takes a lot of work and people just think that network connections just fall into your lap. The problem that I see far too often is that they are just too shy or they don’t have the energy to make an effort. Meeting people today isn’t hard, especially with outlet such as Facebook and LinkedIn. These are all tips that should be followed by anyone that needs to network. Networking is by far the best way to not only meet people, but grow your net worth as well 🙂

Aaron Yoshitake
Aaron Yoshitake
4 years 7 months ago
1. My barriers with respect to networking: 1a. My belief that I’m too shy to network well. I’ve spent years growing comfortable with the fact that I tend to be the “quiet guy” at the table when surrounded by people I don’t know well. While in groups, I’ve gotten used to letting the extroverts talk to each other while I listen. 1b. My feeling that I shouldn’t network too aggressively when I’m accompanied by a friend (most often my girlfriend) who’s not interested in networking. I tell myself I don’t want to abandon her, but I suspect that this is… Read more »
Ian K
Ian K
4 years 7 months ago

“I always thought that networking meant obtaining something but recently, I realized that it means a win-win relationship. But I’m still stuck at giving value.”

This upcoming monday I’ll mail two people I already conctacted and give value to them. I’ll also email another one, with the intention of becoming his friend by sending him a congratulatory email on his latest project. I’ll also connect with a guy (whose father is a succesful businessman) that tried becoming my friend when he realised I was friggin ambitious (we were neighbors, I moved. I’ll try connecting through facebook).

Jay
4 years 7 months ago

Excellent Post here Ramit. So many people I know procrastinate instead of just DOING IT (whatever ‘IT’ may be). An old saying I saw once reads “I’ll stop putting things off tomorrow”. Always makes me chuckle at the irony of the statement but really it’s something almost everybody does. Put things off. Part of my current ideal is to have goals and be working towards them at least a little bit every single day.

Lea
4 years 7 months ago

Great post. A lot of information, much of which you’re not going to find elsewhere.

Isabelle Fredborg
4 years 7 months ago
“Ramit,” this woman told me, “your tactics are great, but over time, they’ll become commodities. But when you can connect with people’s psychological and emotional barriers, you can massively help them.” I’d say following this quote is what makes you interesting. Yes you have a no BS approach and you serve extremely detailed tactics (scripts etc) – that’s all good. The big thing is that you get people to take action and change their behaviour, which is more worth than any tactics. If you take action, you’ll figure out (yes I know ;)) the right things to do by tweaking… Read more »
Carl Lassegue
Carl Lassegue
4 years 7 months ago

I always thought marketing meant that you had to be a natural and a suck up but now I know that with practice and the right techniques I can be good a networking.

I’m going to start following your blueprint for networking with bloggers every day starting today.

Raj
Raj
4 years 7 months ago
I always thought that networking meant to siphon whatever you could from employees at your dream job, but recently, I’ve realized it means to develop meaningful, two-way street relationships. In order to meet more interesting people, I’m going to start being more proactive at all the company-wide information sessions that my college offers. I need to essentially grow a pair, go chat with these important executives in my dream industries, and get to know them. Leave a comment: Identify 3 barriers you have about networking (e.g., “I always thought that networking meant ____ but recently, I realized that it means… Read more »
Mona
Mona
1 year 2 months ago

I have always been a painfully shy person. So, networking doesn’t come naturally to me. And I have always been helping others to the point of neglecting myself and my needs. I didn’t want to be that person who bothers others, rather than solving my own problems. The idea of asking someone else for help makes me cringe, but I see, that networking is a 2-way street. Once you added value to someone else’s life, it is OK to ask a favor myself.

PlusCheats.com
9 months 22 days ago

Yes! Finally someone writes about ‘s-Gravenambacht.

Self-Inspiration
6 months 19 days ago

Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon everyday.

It will always be exciting to read articles from other authors
and practice something from their websites.

Earl
2 months 9 days ago

its what about who you know its what about what you know, my father told me that !

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