I got terrible news last night that a professional contact lost his job yesterday, as his company downsized by a drastic amount.
Why would I call this terrible news? Because this contact is such a master of forming and maintaining both in-person and online relationships in his business life that it is easy to think of him as a friend, even though we’ve maybe talked face-to-face for 3 hours total. Ever.
He’s taught me a lot about the ability to create and sustain relationships that is vital to a marketing universe that relies increasingly on social recommendation and brand ambassadors.
Some things I’ve learned:
Reach out – I first met him when he and I were at a conference, and he tweeted at me about our students.
Pay it forward – In addition to his day job, he runs a very high quality educational opportunity for mostly small business folks in our neck of the woods. It’s information and training that is both high quality and free, and it brings together people who need help and people who can help them in a low-pressure way that has won him many loyal advocates.
Offer a hand up – He is what Malcolm Gladwell would call a connector. He knows who can do what, and offers his own help or connections to others, generating good will.
Know matter how competent you are, don’t act like you have a big head – He knows his stuff, and regularly engages with people (like me) who are still learning. But I have never seen him appear condescending. Respect breeds respect.
Develop sincere interest – In a manner straight out of the Dale Carnegie playbook, he works to remember what people are interested in and to become interested in it himself.
One of the most interesting things is that these traits persist both on-line and in person. He has literally hundreds of friends locally and in other places, and that seems like a great form of job security.