On some days, I encounter a busker with the most amazing voice. Seriously. He’s not like one of those hipster bands who’re half asleep in the middle of their acoustic pop cover. This guy sings at the top of his lungs and strums his guitar like crazy. You can feel his energy at 8.20 in the morning before you even enter the underpass.
I look forward to listening to him all the time, even if it’s just for the 40 seconds when I’m walking to the office. He’s oblivious to the world around him. He closes his eyes, rocks back and forth, and sings soulfully and passionately.
Here’s what’s interesting: I noticed that it’s pretty easy for him to score a donation. 80% of the times that I’ve seen him, he’s gotten a donation from a passerby. I can tell because he interrupts his song with a “God bless you have a nice day!!!”.
And he says it so cheerfully that it makes everyone smile, even if you don’t donate. And then he keeps on singing.
Because he sounds so good and cheers me up in the mornings, I usually give him a couple of bucks when I walk past. And it feels great.
The Other Underpass Denizen
To be honest, I don’t know if they’re actually selling insurance. Maybe they’re selling credit cards, or want you to fill out some dumb survey, or something. I never found out because every time they approach me, I brush them off with a “NothankyouIminarushbye!”
Then they’ll persist and go, “Justfiveminutesofyourtimesir!” and play CATCHING with you by trying to block your path. Get lost, salesman!
Don’t you just hate those guys?
They’re especially irritating because I know that for every person they
trick convince into having a conversation, they probably get like ten bucks or something. They’re earning money at the expense of time. YOUR time.
Same underpass: Two different types of people.
One wholeheartedly brightens up your day even if you never give him a cent. The other is only interested to stop you so he can score some money.
Which one will actually make you HAPPY to help them?
Giving: The Ultimate Form of Networking
Everyone says, “Networking is important! It’s not about what you know, it’s about WHO you know.”
And they’re right: People with the right connections can get better jobs, better business opportunities, and better experiences that aren’t available to the general public. I had a colleague who was recently headhunted into a job that gave him a 50% salary raise.
How did he get it? Through a connection whom he helped out more than 2 years ago.
Networking IS about who you know, but that’s only half the story. You don’t necessarily have to walk around and gregariously high-five everyone you meet.
From my experience, the best networkers aren’t necessarily the most sociable. They’re the ones who’re the most generous.
You see, every day, we encounter people who WANT something from us:
- “Hey, could you drop all your work and give me this info?”
- “Hey, would you give me 5 minutes so I can sell you this insurance plan?”
- “Hey, can you reply my email?”
- “Hey, could you come to the ‘free’ investment talk so I can sell you a $3,000 trading course?”
It’s so rare for us to receive an unconditional gift, that when we do, we sit up and take notice. And the next time that person needs help, we’d be more likely to oblige.
That busker is awesome because he generously gives the gift of song to everyone who passes by. Ask any of the thousands of people who work in the area if they know him, and chances are, they will. Because he stands out, sounds good, and gives freely.
I’d be way more willing to help him than any of the other scammy salesmen who’re only interested in taking something from me.
How Can You Apply This To Your Life?
Let’s say you know a colleague who’s stressed out at work. Maybe you could help him buy lunch if he doesn’t have the time. Or drop him an email saying they did a great job at that presentation. Or leave him a note like this:
(Someone gave my colleague this exact same note. It’s now pasted on his cubicle.)
Or let’s say you know a friend who’s crazy about 2NE1, and you just comped some free tickets to their concert. Instead of selling them off and making $50 bucks, give them to your friend for free.
Or if you know that your business contact is planning a special destination wedding, send them inspirational Pintrest posts or your friend’s contact who’s an excellent wedding planner.
No matter who you are, you always have something to give. It can be as simple as a Post-It note, an email, or a website.
Don’t give because you expect something back. Give because that’s just the right thing to do. As a side effect, one person out of the hundreds you helped out could be the bridge to your new job, investment, or opportunity.
That’s what networking is all about. It doesn’t have to be about being witty and shaking hands and passing your name card to everyone. You’re better off having 100 people you give freely to, than having 2,000 people you “know” because you want something from them.
How can you be a busker to someone today?