In the first chapter of Give and Take, author Adam Grant features Adam Rifkin, who was dubbed Fortune magazine’s Best Networker (he has the most LinkedIn connections to Fortune’s 640 most powerful people). I decided to invite him to connect on LinkedIn.
Wanting to personalize my invitation to increase the likelihood he’d accept, I read his profile. He lives in Silicon Valley, 10 miles from me! He hosts a monthly meet up for start ups. I click on the link and discover the meet up is today in Palo Alto, 20 miles from me. I have the evening open, so I drive to the meet up.
Since there are 8600 people in his meet up group and dozens had RSVPed to the event, I thought I might get to only shake his hand.
I walk into the bar at the start time. Adam and one other guy are there. I spend 30 minutes with Adam asking about his life, how being featured in the book has impacted his life, etc. I learned he was recently on Good Morning America to discuss his giving philosophy. We swapped notes about how big media hits can have no effect on our businesses. We brainstormed a project to create together.
I’m glad I acted on my curiosity. If nothing else, I added an interesting, big-hearted, humble, giving man to my network.
- Act on reaching out, even if you think,'”He would never accept my LinkedIn invitation. He must only hobnob with powerful people.”
- Do some homework on the person. Had I sent a perfunctory LinkedIn connection invitation I would not have learned about his meet up, the non-profit he supports and other details I could discuss with him. I knew to call him by his nickname.
- Arrive early. Few people are punctual, so I had an advantage by being the second guest to arrive and got to spend quality time with Adam.
- Be in the mindset of giving, not what you can ask for. I focused on helping him and never asked his input on my ventures. That might come later as we solidify our connection.