In his post Dharmesh wrote:
But, sometimes, it’s good to just be human and have a genuine conversation with other people. … You don’t need to always be closing. Sometimes, it’s enough just to “always be”.
I agree whole-heartedly. Some of my most useful (and happy relationships) are with people whom I met “accidentally” – or at least serendipitously.
Andrew referred to Dharmesh’s post and wrote about his own approach to networking:
My approach to networking is to focus on what I can do for the other person. In some cases there isn’t anything I can do for the other person but everybody could use a hand somewhere and most people seem to appreciate the effort regardless of the results. I find that I build trust and get to know people better by trying to help them.
Taking the longer term approach of building trust and good will by helping others is what has allowed me to build relationships where by others are genuinely willing to help me.
Again, I tend to agree with Andrew here. A short-sighted “what-can-you-do-for-me?” (or its variant, “what-can-I-do-for-you?”) is probably not the best way to start a long-term relationship
To be fair, Seth’s post was more in the spirit of keeping meetings to the point and crisp (no argument with that) but he does refer to “those pesky “networking” introductions . . .”!
As an aside, is there a cultural angle to this? At the risk of sounding controversial (and/or arrogant), I think this self-centred and here-and-now approach may be one reason why US entrepreneurs or professionals often find it difficult to do business (and build networks) in Asia where cultures tend to emphasize the “social” side of the relationships more than their commercial or transactional aspects.