You Want a Seat at the Table? Here are 3 Ways to Earn it!

Richard RB Botto
7 min readApr 16, 2019

Once upon a time in a land not so far away (and, well, every second on social media), someone decided it would be a good idea to ask for something that served him and only him.

He decided that in order to succeed in life, he needed to collect all of the “things” that he needed to shine.

But he was mistaken.

See, this particular individual is misunderstanding the purpose of the ask: The value you bring to a person is based on their needs, not yours.

Go back and read that sentence again. Better yet, let me say it again:
The value you bring to a person is based on their needs, not yours.

In other words, if you want something, you have to definitively and decidedly earn the right to ask for it, and to earn that right, you mustbring value to the person you’re asking first, foremost and repeatedly. Here’s what I mean in boldface headers….

1) Build Meaningful Relationships
One of my favorite stories about relationship building comes directly from my book Crowdsourcing for Filmmakers: Indie Film and the Power of the Crowd and speaks to the importance of building genuine, meaningful relationships. (I tell the story in this blog post as well.)

In a nutshell, an aspiring writer we’ll call Gary approaches a multi-nominated and Academy Award winning writer/director at a screenwriting conference. He is one of about 20 writers waiting for an audience with this particular creative. Without so much as an introduction and/or handshake, he dives right in on his (self-proclaimed) genius and his brilliant script. For what seems like an eternity, he drones on and on, not letting the writer/director get a word in edgewise or noticing his increasing disinterest. At no point does he even acknowledge the writer/director’s success or direct any of the conversation toward his body of work or accomplishments.

This was a fail of massive proportions. Why?

Clearly, our brilliant writer brought nothing of value to the table. All he brought was ego and hubris. Worse, he didn’t value his target’s time or the time of the 20 or so writers who were waiting for an audience with our famous writer/director. I…

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Richard RB Botto

CEO @stage32 | Screenwriter/Producer/Actor/Author | Contributor @fastcompany | @fastcoboard | Master of My Domain | Legendary Wiseass | IG: RBwalksintoabar