The Legal Department

Network Building Is Essential In The Legal Department: Michael Melcher, Author, Your Invisible Network

The Legal Department  | Network Building

 

In this “how to” episode, executive coach and author of Your Invisible Network, Michael Melcher, provides strategies for building your network. Acknowledging that discomfort is often associated with networking, Michael urges us to move through the discomfort and tap into the people around us. He says relationships are a form of wealth that is under our control and are essential to career success and getting more out of life. Tune into this engaging episode to learn how you can develop your network, build relationships, and use your own network as a “benefactor” to help others.

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Network Building Is Essential In The Legal Department: Michael Melcher, Author, Your Invisible Network

For this episode of the show, I’m beyond thrilled to welcome Michael Melcher. He’s an Executive Coach in New York City, a former lawyer, CEO of M2 Leaders, and the Author of a book called Your Invisibility Network. Michael, welcome to the show.

Thank you for having me.

I’m excited for this conversation. I’ve been thinking about it a lot. I read your book 2023 after the interview on the Happier Show with Gretchen Rubin. I know you all are friends. I was struck with your approach to network building and how you have broken it down and manageable practical applications for folks. I’m excited to share this.

Thank you.

When we talk before, I want to lead off with this. The concept of networking is like an N-word. People have a very polarizing view of networking. Scott Westfahl who’s the Head of Executive Education at Harvard, calls it network building, which is network building which is maybe a little softer way to think about it. I want to start with the why. Why do you think? You say this in the book, but why should professionals and lawyers care about building a network?

Relationships Are A Form Of Wealth

First of all, people tend to consider networking co-equal to networking events, hence, a lot of the hang up. Networking events are simply one of many potential ways to build relationships or a network. It is super important to build and maintain one’s network because relationships are a form of wealth. They’re a form of wealth as much as any type of financial asset. It’s under your control even if you start with nothing. You can build it and it stays with you.

It is super important to build and maintain one's network because relationships are a form of wealth. Click To Tweet

You might move from job to job or city to city or career to career. Your network, if you maintain it and continue cultivating it, will stand you in good stead. You also don’t use it up. There are ways of accessing or making requests that can deepen the relationships you have rather than using it. If you do not have a lively network, if you don’t take the effort, you may achieve some success but you are handicapping yourself by not developing it.

That’s true. Lawyers and any profession, I always tell people, you need to know people. You’re going to have an issue in your life even if it’s in your personal life. You need a plumber. You need to have people to draw upon to learn things and be connected with people that can help you. The other thing you wrote though, and this is particularly the case given where we are post-pandemic, is people are lonelier than they need to be. Networking or building a network doesn’t have to be like what can I get necessarily, but there’s just a huge value in connecting.

Relationships are a big part of what makes life worth living. There is nothing we do for more hours, at least in this country, than work. If you’re relationships at work are vital and broad, you’re going to enjoy it a lot more. If they’re very transactional limited, work is much less pleasurable. It’s something that you get through in order to live your real life as opposed to part of your real life.

That’s a good way to put it. Your cocktail party analogy. Certainly, when I say networking, that’s what you think, like, “I’ve got to go to this party. I’m not going to know people. I’ve got my business cards burning a hole in my pocket.” Building a network is much more than that. When we talked before, you talked about that this book is about discomfort. It’s about like how to move through that because again, as you’re thinking about going to an event or making an outreach to somebody. You can have a lot of discomfort and big feelings around that.

The big feelings are there for almost everybody. You may not be old enough to know. Remember, in the ‘80s and early ‘90s, there was something called the Hair Club for Men. There were infomercials by this guy named Sy Sperling. It was some type of wig. In the end, he would dramatically show up before and after photo. He said, “I’m Sy Sperling and I’m not only the President. I’m also a member.”

I feel that way with this book. I wrote this book. It is based on what I know. I learned more as I wrote it and I do think it’s correct to say that there are a lot of best practices that will help people but I’m also a human being. When I make efforts toward working on my network, I will have any of the same feelings that other people do.

At least I can predict them and I have a sense of what to do with them, which is essentially don’t take them so seriously. Don’t let the discomfort be some assessment for how well you’re doing. I would say as a coach, if you are uncomfortable, it means you’re growing. If you’re always comfortable in everything, you’re probably more suck than you might think.

That’s funny. The discomfort though, it depends also on your personality. If you’re an introvert or an extrovert, you have some different examples about how introverts can build connection and how extroverts might do it differently. One of the examples and I love how your writing is clear and fun. One of the things I enjoyed. I wanted to ask you, as you said, you don’t like brunch. I feel like in New York City, my stereotype is that people eat a lot of brunch there.

They are and they’re lackadaisical people. You’re correct, I do not like brunch. I’m not sure why. It feels a little lazy and unserious to me. It interferes with every diet I’ve ever been on in my lifetime. It’s not something I make a point of doing but I had this transformative experience many years ago. I was in DC and this friend of mine said, “My friends are getting together for brunch. Why don’t you come?” I thought, “I don’t want to go to brunch,” but I thought, “Why not? Leticia knows a lot of interesting people,” and so I went.

I ended up meeting all these people that were working for, at the time, the Obama administration that’s political appointees. They’re interested in coaching. I connected with one of them, then we followed up with some potential work and nothing happened. It set off this chain of events that ultimately led me to do about a dozen pro bono workshops for government appointees about career transition and development.

Ultimately, I scored an invitation to the White House Christmas party and brought my mom. Seriously, it was all from the brunch and I didn’t want to go. I had to push myself a little bit to, “It’s just a brunch, let’s go. What can happen?” It underscores another point, which is that you can’t pre-qualify who’s going to be worthwhile to meet and what situations are going to be worthwhile. You can put a little bit of intention into it, but in the end, there’s a lot of randomness. Part of being successful is not coming up with logical reasons about why something’s going to work or not work and getting into the flow of it.

First of all, there’s a couple of topics I want to get into. On the idea of intentionality, I even have this as I’m looking at different guests for the show. You can get starstruck with somebody’s credentials and miss opportunities to get to know others or learn about people or somebody has a big star power and they’re a dud. You have to come into any new relationship or new experience with an attitude of curiosity. Not any like, “I’m going to meet the Obama person, but I want to meet interesting people.”

Curiosity

Curiosity is probably the single most useful characteristic to have in dealing with career and happiness. Curiosity comes down to I wonder, “I wonder what this show will be like. I wonder what the brunch will be like. I wonder what this famous person is like in person. I wonder what she’ll think of me.” It’s not knowing and being open to discover what there is. It’s very freeing compared with deciding ahead of time whether it’s going to be good or bad or someplace in between.

The Legal Department  | Network Building
Network Building: Curiosity is probably the single most useful characteristic to have in this career.

 

“I want to get X out of it.” If you set up certain expectations about an interaction and that doesn’t deliver. First of all, it puts pressure on that interaction, but also, you’re missing out on other great things you could be getting from it.

Think of every date that anyone’s ever had in human history. The same thing.

That would be a long time. I’ve been with my husband since college. If we did not last, I cannot even imagine. You’d have to write a book for that for me to figure that out. If we could talk about that brunch that led you to the White House Christmas party. Did you rely on curiosity? How did you get yourself to go and like, “I’m going to go tough it out with those waffles?”

I wouldn’t say it was hugely difficult for me. I’m pretty extroverted, so I can pull it off for a while. It was simply, “Why do I keep doing the same thing?” The same thing being, let’s say, not going to brunch. Why not just try something different? Why not mix it up a little bit? It just came down to that. There’s a notion that I learned from a book by David Bradford called a Fifteen Percent Risk . Fifteen percent risk is stretching a bit but not in such a way that if it doesn’t work out, it’ll be catastrophic.

It was a brunch. It wasn’t going on a cruise for four days with people I didn’t know. It also wasn’t waving at somebody in a cafeteria. It required me to devote a few hours and see how it go. If it didn’t work out, it’d be like, “Now I remember why I don’t like brunch so much,” but it worked out completely differently from that.

You have in the book, it’s around chapter eight, there’s a get into the 15% risk. Again, one of the features of the book I like the practical examples. You have a chart that shows what would be a risky behavior, what would be a comfortable behavior or way to praise something and the learning or the 15% risk, which I thought was helpful for people to put it in context. If you break things down that way, it can be less intimidating and get at that discomfort.

We get distracted by over-dramatizing things. Sometimes, it’s like the status quo versus some huge change, but you can make a lot of progress through small steps, experiments, and reflections. That is what I try to do in the book. The orthodoxy of coaching is that I ask questions. I ask open-ended questions and I listen a lot as opposed to giving my advice. In writing, people do like advice. They like to see examples.

We get distracted by overdramatizing things sometimes, so it's like the status quo versus some huge change, but actually, you can make a lot of progress through small steps, experiments, and reflections. Click To Tweet

That’s why we’re buying the book.

You want some templates. You want to take a look, then you can take it from there.

I don’t know if you do this or if this is something that you could help me think through. I am somebody who likes the idea of doing things. I was invited to a network. It was a networking dinner in Santa Barbara. I was excited about it at first because I’m not aware of a lot of working people in Santa Barbara. I was excited to meet other professionals but then the day of, and this happens repeatedly. I always like, “I should get home. I haven’t been home for bedtime or I need to stay late to do this project.” At that moment of like, go and no-go, I do have to push through the discomfort. I don’t know if that’s common or a bratcherism.

It’s pretty common. When I have done webinars for like NBA alumni programs or other similar organizations, the show up rate is usually about 30% to 35% of the numbers that signed up. That’s a good result. It’s not that people are terrible or flaky. It’s just that you can be ambitious in the moment. As it comes closer, it could be you simply have other things go on.

I also think that what you describe is something you can predict. You can almost write a note to yourself on your calendar, “I predict that at 9:00 AM on this date, I’m going to start seeing the following questions. The way I’m going to answer those questions is X.” It’s not a huge surprise that these things happen. That’s one way we make progress is by knowing yourselves and predicting what it’s going to be then deciding, “I think I would like to move in a different direction and not repeat the same cycle again and again.”

Being thoughtful about it. I try not to let myself off the hook. I try to think about like, “Why is it I don’t want to go? Is it because I’m nervous and I’m not going to know anybody then I’m going to feel awkward like at one of those cocktail parties? Is it, I do feel bad. I haven’t spent enough time at home?” There is a little bit of jump in and eat the waffles.

Jump in and eat those waffles and bacon.

I’m just stuck on that because to me, brunch feels like feels breezy. It feels like I could go in. I don’t have to commit.

Building Your Professional Network

It’s funny. It feels exactly opposite to me. It feels like I’m essentially stuck on a booze cruise for three hours. I can’t get back to shore but it’s one of my points. There’s no one way of doing this. You got to know yourself and do what’s comfortable with yourself. Start with that, because there are plenty of ways that you can build your professional network and deepen relationships.

They’re all kinds of different ways. Start with who you are then stretch a bit. Challenge yourself a bit, but you don’t have to become a new person. I would further say that we sometimes hold onto these sorts of fears because it justifies not doing anything. I’m a lawyer. I probably need to work on my network. I haven’t done that much on it, then I get fixated on this idea of the unpleasant cocktail party with a glad-handing people with their business cards.

I get something out of that fixation. I get the satisfaction that, “Oh okay.” It’s better for me not to do anything instead of that bad thing. If you say, “That’s not even part of the equation.” Look at yourself in the mirror now and think about what are some small things you could do. It puts the responsibility back on you. You have to do something.

We like to talk about things more than we like to do them. I’m sure that’s a lot of what you’re coaching is about. I’m a huge proponent of relationship building. The why is for the audience so that we get those lawyers and bought in here and why we’re talking about this. Also, you have so many great strategies on the how to. It even starts with the title of the book, Your Invisible Network. You talk about being aware of who is in your network. There’s a couple of concepts here, but maybe we can talk about how and looking at what you call weak ties.

The title has two dimensions. There is a horizontal dimension of Your Invisible Network. That means that that there are people that you’re not quite connected to, but are not that far away. If you can bring them more into your world, you get a lot out of that. That would include what we call weak ties, which are people that you either don’t know very well or we’ve fallen out of touch with. It also includes people that are not your vibe. They’re just different.

There could be real reason for you developing a relationship then there is a vertical dimension, which is what is a relationship and what is a rich and robust relationship as opposed to a very transactional one? That is also underdeveloped. The cover of the book has these pictures of people. They start clear and they get more faded into nothing and that’s my idea. It’s not that you’re starting from zero and going somewhere. You’re starting with something. It’s just a bit uncultivated.

I want to dig in on both of these topics. The concept that struck me was the focusing on relationships where people may not be your vibe and it is easy for us, “You’re a working mom, or our kids are on the same soccer team.” You find some intersections and those are easy. If there’s somebody that is interesting, but you’re like, “I don’t know if I like you.” You shy away from that, but you advise to explore folks that are different from you.

Don’t Limit Your Network

Your network can’t be limited to people you like or people who are like you. There are a lot of different personalities out there. People come of all kinds of backgrounds. If we’re too focused on what my immediate buzz or hit office person. We are defining out the whole possibility of learning, discovering, and being curious about other people.

The Legal Department  | Network Building
Network Building: Do not limit your network to people you like or people who are like you. There are a lot of different personalities out there, and people come from all kinds of backgrounds.

 

When I started coaching, I would assess how well I was doing by how quick the conversation was, then whether my clients hugged me at the end. I’m a very huggy guy. After a little bit, I realized, some people are huggy and some people aren’t. That’s a dumb way of assessing whether somebody gets value out of it.

People who are what I called thinkers on the Myers-Briggs type indicator, including the vast majority of lawyers, they wait and see. They’re going to go a while before they make an assessment. They may ultimately hug me, but it’s not going to be after an hour talking to somebody. I was assuming that my most immediate impulse was some wisdom, then I got to know people on a much deeper level, including people that I had no connection with at first.

A second idea, let’s think about the workplace now. A lot of younger professionals have grown up and been educated, new paradigm where there’s a lot of attention based to power like, “How much power do you have beside this other person? You have to be careful of your power and this and that.” That means that they can easily think of more senior colleagues or stakeholders or bosses as more powerful than they are in a way that stops us from doing anything.

You could be a brand-new associate and there might be a senior partner. Maybe he’s an intimidating White male at least to your way of looking at things. If that’s the only label, you give to that person, if you’re not curious about it. You may never discover that both of you come from big families or grew up in the Midwest or loved taking the subway or into sports or macro may or dream of going to Iceland.

There are a lot of things you might have in common that if you’re not curious about, you’re never going to discover that. You have to be willing to wonder about the other person. You have to be willing to reveal a bit about yourself in order to get there. The image you have in second one is never going to be the totality of who that person is anyway.

Back to the don’t judge a book by its cover advice. That has proven true in my life over and over again. Back to the concept of curiosity, that is tried and true state of mind to bring to almost everything and including relationships. I thought that’s what you did with the book cover. I was thinking that that was intentional. I’m glad I was on the money on that. What about those weak ties?

0Somebody, I mentioned I interviewed Scott Westfahl from Harvard and we talked a little bit about network building. He was called it a dormant tie. We had met several years ago and I reached out to him about the show. He said, “The research is if people liked you a while ago or when you were stronger, it’s likely they still like you today.”

That has certainly been the case with me. The phrase “the strength of weak ties” was coined by a Stanford grad student in the ‘70s, Mark S. Granovetter. He distinguished strong ties, which are people that you have ongoing exchange with and weak ties. You don’t have ongoing change. It could be the dormant tie, like you knew them before but they fall out of touch, or it’s never developed that much in the first place. Their oath could be called dormant.

The category of people you once knew but have fallen out of touch with gets bigger as you go on in life. That’s it. It becomes easier because there’s a lot more to draw from. You don’t have to do as much, let’s say, cold or cool calling. There is a funny thing that this is why it’s so useful to keep in touch with college law school friends or people you knew as a young associate. By and large, they will tend to become more successful people as they get older. They do remember you as you were.

I did a JDMBA and I went to a alumni gathering. There were at least three people who came up to me and quoted things I’d said to them 30 years ago that had somehow stuck in their minds. I was flabbergasted. One of them is a famous Latina VC that I feel is in this whole other orbit from me. We had been friendly in school and apparently, I said something very important to her back then. I’ve noticed that. In fact, they remember you more for how you were when you were in school than you are now. It’s a great gift and it’s something that you can use because you don’t have to establish what you’ve accomplished now and who you are now. You can ride on that with your connection.

I don’t want to necessarily get into this, but there’s the whole thing about how to introduce yourself and how to show people who you are. There’s some efficiencies there. If somebody’s already known you from before and you have that easy rapport. There’s the how of like, how do you figure out or who to cultivate? I want to get a little more tactical about how to do it.

Back to the concept of discomfort, it’s not just the trepidation about going into a room where you don’t know anybody. The stakes can feel high, even to send an email to somebody you haven’t talked to in a few years or even if somebody you just met. It can feel risky. Maybe we could talk about how to move through that discomfort or steps to take to do the reach out.

As an overview, you need a good enough habit. You don’t have to reach out to the most important people. You don’t have to have the highest perceived value people on top. It’s any cluster of people who think it’s going to be reasonably useful to reach out to. That’s enough. You want to think about, how do I want to allocate my energy among different types of potential interactions?

Perhaps you will go to that cocktail party. You could also meet with people for lunch or dinner or breakfast or drinks. You could also do a Zoom call, do a phone call, exchange thoughts by email or text or comment on a LinkedIn post. Your firm or your company may have some type of newsletter where you send out content to people. You can send birthday cards and you can do what I’ll call pings. I’ll explain that in a second.

The idea is that you have a lot of different things and you probably don’t want to set up 30 lunches a month. Maybe two is enough or one is enough. That frees you. If I’m only going to do one lunch or three lunches, then what other types of things will I do? We want a mix of things based on who you are and what your personal goals are. Go from that point of view.

In terms of reaching out, there are two different types of communications, fundamentally. One is there’s some type of a request, “Stacy, I saw you joined such-and-such firm. Congratulations. I’d love to take you out to lunch when you’ve come up for air and we can talk about it,” or, “Michael Melcher, I read your book and I liked it. I wonder if I could ask you a couple questions.” That’s a request but there’s also something called a ping, which is a one-way communication.

You’re sending something without any expectation of reply. You’re either saying thinking of you or here’s a cool resource, “Stacy, I walked by our favorite food truck. Still going strong. I hope things are going well in DC.” Notice, I don’t say, “Let’s catch up in two weeks by phone.” It’s just a one-way communication, or, “Michael, I saw this speaker who was talking about network building and he referenced this interesting article and sent it your way.”

The benefit of those is that they’re nice to receive because we all have too many chores we haven’t done. It’s nice to know somebody’s thinking about us without us needing to do anything. The other thing is that it frees you as a sender because you don’t have to get caught up in, “What are they going to respond to? What will they think of me?” You just have this one-way thing. If you think about letters and birthday cards, those are essentially pings. They’re just one way. You don’t send a birthday card and sign, “Write me back.” You don’t. It’s an understood thing. Those are two kinds of distinctions.

I like the ping. It’s a nice way to keep somebody warm. One of my core values is authenticity. I struggle talking about this because it feels like it’s a little calculated, like, “I’m noticing your birthday because whatever.” I do think and I did it. I sent somebody a text who has a new job and said, “Thinking of you. If there’s anything I can do, let me know.” Somebody else, “Checking in and see how it’s going.” Keep people warm because for me, having and maintaining those connections and relationships is important. I get a lot of fatigue, email fatigue like when you reach out to somebody or somebody reaches out to you then, “We want to have a call,” then scheduling the call or making the plan. It’s like, no. Let’s acknowledge each other and move on.

I love it, the value of just acknowledging each other. You’re reminding them of you, but you’re also reminding yourself that you have this relationship. That’s satisfying in itself.

It is and we’ll get into a little bit later about the two-way street when we were talking about the week ties. I was thinking a little bit of you mentioned. We want to develop something that’s not transactional. I want to make that point to the audience that when I talk about network building, I am not saying, “Let’s figure out what Michael Melcher can do for Stacy Bradshaw. Let me think who can help me.” You never know when you’re going to need a relationship or someone to listen to you.

As a general counsel, I describe it as a very lonely job. It is enough for me to have, I call it my coffee clutch of other people in my similar role to talk. I don’t need anybody to help me get a job or get me on a speaking tour or anything like that. To be able to say like, “I’m going through this. Have you done this before?” I want to explore a little bit of when we’re talking about network building, we’re not necessarily talking about just like, “What can you do for me?”

Reciprocity

Not at all. It’s getting to know people. It’s being curious about them and revealing a bit about yourself. The more network building you do without a particular ask, the easier it will be if you then need that ask one day. It’s also inherently satisfying to get to know people. Let me make a point about this idea of reciprocity.

The Legal Department  | Network Building
Network Building: The more network-building you do without a particular ask, the easier it will be if you then need to ask one day.

 

Relationships have reciprocity. If you’re going to your coffee clatch, it’s not just you with a megaphone and them listening to you and helping you. It’s going to be vice versa, depending on what people’s needs are. It’s not using people. It’s being a resource for one another and showing that you value the person over some transaction.

Now the interesting thing is that people make mistakes on both sides of this. On the one hand, people get too wrapped up in the idea that I need to offer something of value in order to ask somebody or request their failure. Most of the time, the reciprocity is going to be inexact. If you were talking to a captain of industry about something and you’re hoping to get advice or a lead. You might be able to help her or him.

It’s also possible that there’s nothing you can do other than being a good listener and writing a thank you note then later, let it know how you use that advice. That itself is something. It’s not exactly the same as what they gave you, but it’s not exactly the same as what they gave you. If you sit around thinking, “What can I do for them? Can I recommend summer camp for the kids? Can I help their nephew with their law school application?”

No, you don’t know any of that. It’s silly to even put it there. You want to see if there’s anything you can do, but don’t assume it. Overtime, perhaps there will be ways that you could offer some benefit to the person. The other side, though, I do see people being tacky where they’ll be very polite affront, but if they don’t get what they want right away, then it goes away.

I think we’re encouraging people to reach out to people, but there is art to it. Maybe that’s part of why people have trepidation about it, is that they don’t want to step in it. What are some don’ts?

Say thank you whether you get what you want or not. Show I appreciation for the time that they’ve spent even if it’s just giving you a polite no. I would like to say you’d be shocked to know how often people don’t do this but you probably would not be shocked to know. I did a presentation and the sky wrote to me on LinkedIn. He said, “I liked your thing. I’m working on an AI startup that relates to some of the things that you talk about. I would love to have a brainstorming call with you.” I didn’t know this guy. I said, “How about you read my book first, then we’ll set up a time to chat.” Never heard from him again. You could buy for $16 kindle. It’s not that much. You want to talk to me for half an hour to pick my brain. It was interesting.

It feels transactional. It feels like one-way for you.

It’s like, “Maybe this will work. Maybe I can get a quick win here.” Don’t do things like that. Don’t write requests emails of people that are like twelve paragraphs long with your whole life story. No one wants to take that on. Be professional, succinct, confident, but not cocky. Deferential in some cases but not a doormat.

That’s the art. The book has a lot of examples.

There are like 40 examples. When you see it, “I get it.” Look at the examples and come up with your own based on those.

I get people that make requests to me and reach out. I like that. I appreciate it. I think that all of us, no matter where you are in your life in your career, have the ability to be what you call a benefactor to others. This is another reason why I wanted to talk to you because it’s important for us as professionals and people to think about, how can I help somebody else?

On the closing out the last topic a little bit, when you say like, “Thank you,” even if you don’t get what you want. Think about on the other end. If I have to say no to some somebody, it’s hard. I spend a lot of time thinking about how I’m going to say no or pivot and talk about negotiation like, “I can’t do this for you, but maybe this.” I do think it’s worth giving that some thought as you’re making a request that it’s hard on the other person, too.

I’m glad you pointed it out because people could simply not respond. If they are responding, whether it’s right away or after two weeks. It means that they were thinking about it and want to do it the right way. You can acknowledge that and who knows? Something might come later. If somebody just shows good manner. I’ll give you an example.

Somebody wrote to me and was interested in internship. I said, “At this time, I don’t think I would be hiring any interns but here are a couple resources if you’re interested in learning more about coaching, particularly as a relatively young person.” She responded and said, “I appreciate the response. I’m going to look into those resources. I can’t wait.” That’s what I wanted. I’ve done similar things before where there’s no response to get what’s a curated resource from someone who knows what they’re doing in a field. That is pretty huge.

I was going to say absolutely.

People are always noticing who’s up for building a good grown-up type relationship and who maybe lacks a sincerity or maturity from it. I don’t go around trying to judge people, but I do notice who has good energy and who seems like somebody I want to invest in. They’re just not there yet.

It’s manners, honestly and sending a thank you even if I didn’t get what I want or regardless. You made a contact, “Thank you.” Those little things, you are showing the other person who you are.

Good Manners

You may remember that I have a chart in one of the sections about what constitutes good manners in a business meeting because some people may not have learned that at home. I wouldn’t necessarily expect them, but it is learnable. Manners go far.

Manners go really far. Click To Tweet

They do. For me, it’s like a table stakes thing. If someone hasn’t had good manners like I’m over it. Let’s talk about being a benefactor. I think this is a responsibility we all have, people are going to reach out. You can have opportunities to notice whether you could be a benefactor, even if someone, maybe they’re not comfortable asking, but you may be able to be positioned to help them. Let’s talk about that concept.

I called it benefactor specifically for that reason that, “Who’s the benefactor?” They donate a million bucks to the ballet. They’re giving their largesse because they want to. Not because somebody’s asked in most cases. When it comes to relationships, the way that you give your largesse away is by making connections or sharing resources. Often, even the person hasn’t asked. They’re free to take it or not. It’s an important thing to do.

When you have knowledge or connections or I would say, even money. I do think we have human duty to pass that on. The other thing is it helps you. It’s joyous to be able to help somebody and make a difference in their life. I was a securities lawyer. I would spend eleven hours a day editing prospectuses. It wasn’t clear what impact that had on the individual human being, but if you were helping somebody one-to-one, you see the impact.

The other thing is that a lot of networking can feel like me. We don’t like that feeling. If you are also someone who is a benefactor who is helping others, then you know that there’s an overall blow to what’s going on. I’m helping this kid from the Yakima Valley get ready for college. Maybe tomorrow I’ll meet a CEO and I’ll make a pitch for coaching services. I’ll feel more comfortable doing that because I also know I’m the person who helps others. It completes this missing link that we can feel without quite articulating it when we’re trying to network.

Again, I feel like we all have a responsibility to do so. I don’t know if you feel this way. I feel like bringing generosity to relationships regardless if it’s somebody who’s a kid or who’s a CEO. Being open and generous with what the largesse as you described it that we have puts out good juju for all of us.

There are a lot of almost pressures in society to just hold on to what you have.

Scarcity and mindset.

Look at your own victimization. Don’t give away too much be careful what have you. We’re better off just fighting against that like, “No, I’m going to spend an hour with this person. I’m going to leave $20 as tip at the diner,” just because you can. Do it.

On that note, this has been a joy. You are a benefactor to me to be on the show, so I appreciate it. I close out all episodes with the same question and I was getting pumped up for the show. I’m listening to Taylor Swift’s, the Man. Don’t read into that. I ask all guess, what is your pump-up song?

There is a song called Foundations by a British singer named Kate Nash that I used to listen to every single day. When I was trying to write, it would be the first thing I would play. It’s a great high-energy song.

I love that. Michael Melcher, thanks for being on the show.

Thank you for having me.

 

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