Feb 15, 2018
On today’s episode of Just the Tips, Dean and I welcome Scott Gerber, a man who has launched incredible projects that have made a huge difference for companies. He’s CEO of The Community Company, an organization that builds and manages community-driven programs for media companies and global brands, and a founder of the YEC organization for young entrepreneurs. His books, Superconnector and Never Get a “Real” Job have landed him on all the major news outlets. But, today actually isn’t about credentials and all of that, today we talk with him about building true, genuine relationships. We’ve all had that experience of “networking” where afterward you feel like you need to be doused with disinfectant. What Scott is so good at, and what we talk about on today’s show, is really creating relationships with people that are mutually beneficial. If you want to get out there, but you don’t want to “network,” this is the episode for you.
We’re constantly bombarded with the idea that more is better, it’s important to know everyone, etc. But as Scott says on this episode of Just the Tips, “the reality is pretty clear: your inner circle should be on the smaller side.” And because you can then go deeper with that smaller set of people than you could with a wider net, you’re building actually meaningful relationships. If you spend a little more empathy, a little more time on those relationships, you’d be better for it, says Scott. This is in contrast to, as he says, “the latest conversion or growth hack b.s. that some blogger wanted to put clickbait around.” It’s a very meaningful perspective, and one you’re going to want to hear.
Learning to build communities and strong relationships is really a mindset shift, Scott says. It’s the equivalent of losing weight: You can either go with fad products that promise you’ll lose weight quickly, or you can change your mindset and your lifestyle to be healthier and keep it off. That’s why Scott is so skeptical of articles that promise “10 tips and tricks to better networking.” He wants to completely move away from the mindset of traditional networking to a new framework. Though he kindly agreed with me that if we changed the name of our show from Just the Tips, “Just the Frameworks” wouldn’t have quite the same ring. Luckily, he still shared some fascinating insights into his framework for building relationships on this week’s episode.
Scott holds up the example of the typical, old-school “networking’ mindset, as someone who upon meeting another person, tries to determine how that person can help them. But Scott says you need to flip that, and the only way to do that is to be honest with yourself. And he says there are three key traits of any successful connector. You have to be self-aware, empathetic, and curious. Each of those seems simple enough, but as Scott says, each requires an actual understanding of yourself, and what other people need. And all three have one thing in common. As Scott put it: “You can’t cheat real time.” You have to put in the time to actually understand yourself, develop empathy for others, and spend time asking questions to dive deeper into your relationships.
It’s so easy to think transactionally when it comes to business relationships: What value can I extract from this other person. But, as Scott says, if you’re thinking about relationships, then you’re looking to either help people or help connect them with people who could help them. And that builds trust and builds an expanding group of people who value you for the interest you took in them, and will now think of you when they hear of something that could help you. As Scott says, he and his business partner are living proof that this approach really works from both a human and a business perspective. And while he’s bucking the trend of offering tips on this week’s episode of Just the Tips, you’re going to want to hear what he has to say.
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