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Friday, July 10, 2009


The Rehumanization of Networking
with Douglas Castle

Dear Friends (and I occasionally use that term patronizingly, as some of the alternatives which come immediately to mind are unprintable):

Have you experienced any of the following "counterintuitive" phenomena in your relationship-building efforts? [No need to answer out loud -- the people nearby will think that you are crazy]:
1. The persons who want something from you for free are a great deal more persistent than those who pay you for your time and effort.

2. The persons who want something from you for free tend to be far less patient with you than those who pay for your time and effort.

3. The persons who want something from you for free tend to shirk your needs (no matter how minor) aside when they are "working" for "money", or with a "paying" "client".

4. The persons who tend to ceaselessly demand the most of you tend to return the least.

5. That persons who flatter you with the biggest trowelful of adoration tend to follow that flattery with a demand that you do some "homework" for them...usually a great deal of work requiring a great amount of your time.

6. That persons frequently use the leverage of friendship or partnership as a ruse or excuse to make you work harder, faster and for less compensation.

7. That you find yourself afraid to ask for the compensation which you deserve because you feel that you will either lose friends or clients.

8. That you get far fewer business or professional referrals from persons when you do things for them gratis than when you have billed for your time or achievements.

9. That when people say "we" they often mean just "you."

10. That those people who court you, solicit you, corner you and "pick your brain" without ever getting down to the part of the discussion where they ask, "And what, brilliant sir, might you require in compensation for your services? Please let me know. When can we commence? Do you require a cheque or a wire transfer? May I pick up this tab for lunch?" are the ones who will unhesitatingly tell third parties behind your back..."I have a hard time working with/ getting a hold of/ understanding that guy."

If you have experienced these phenomena, you are not alone. You are in good company. Don't be cynical -- it isn't that people are mistreating you deliberately. It is actually of a function of two things:

1. People's hard-wired and societally-reinforced behaviors and responses to certain subtle signals;

2. Your failure to acknowledge and deal with #1, immediately above.

You set a bad precedent when you don't forewarn or pre-advise people of each of the following cold realities. Do this early on in the game:

  • You are an expert;
  • Your time is scarce, and that it is worth money;
  • Your priorities, of necessity, will go toward those persons who pay for your services;
  • There are limits to your time and availability;
  • You must insist upon their cooperation or they will have contributed to your failure.

If you meet with too much resistence, move on politely. If they start to offer you other forms of compensation in lieu of your fee, move on politely (with a few exceptions -- see below). If they tell you of their lamentable poverty, refer them to Social Services and then move on.

If someone asks me, "Douglas...if you really believe in my project so much why don't you just work on a percentage, or be a junior partner?" I must question their motives, as well as their likelihood of winning at what they are at work on, lest I gamble away my chance at certain profits through guaranteed compensation per hour or per engagement. Choose speculative opportunities carefully -- only the very best should be the exceptions to the "I get paid a fee" principle.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Be certain that people respect your time, and that you respect your own time by bringing this TIME IS MONEY subject up early on in the realtionship. Then, invest your time very wisely, and make good decisions.


Douglas Castle

Posted to THE NATIONAL NETWORKER (TNNW). All rights reserved.

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The Emergence of The Relationship Economy
The Emergence of the Relationship Economy features TNNWC Founder, Adam J. Kovitz as a contributing author and contains some of his early work on The Laws of Relationship Capital. The book is available in hardcopy and e-book formats. With a forward written by Doc Searls (of Cluetrain Manifesto fame), it is considered a "must read" for anyone responsible for the strategic direction of their business. If you would like to purchase your own copy, please click the image above.


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