How Pronoia Took Over Silicon Valley

5 tips that will change the way you network

Image by Riccardo Annandale on Unsplash

Do you want to be a successful individual and ask for help but don’t want to come across as opportunistic? Do you want to create a culture in your network that everyone advocates for one another? It’s true that most people are generous when it comes to helping others but creating an environment that no one is looking for quid pro quo is crucial for a long term success. Genuine help can go a long way and change someone’s life. It also creates a more competitive environment with healthier strategies. This is what Adam Rifkin, co-founder of PandaWhale, calls the “Five Minute Favor.” The idea is so simple and everyone can participate at no cost. “Success is more about contribution.” I have come across this powerful approach while writing my first book and it is helping me to be better at networking and marketing.

All of us who are creators want to create useful information, products and/or services for people to consume. However, when you are taking the first steps in your career, you need hands to help you with some of the heavy lifting. I remember the second week into starting my journey of becoming a first time author, Professor Eric Koester introduced me to this powerful technique. This technique creates opportunities to those who use it by teaching them to help others first before requesting a favor (in my case, this was an invitation to interview). The most powerful part of this technique is that by creating an environment of helping others, people automatically would like to help you succeed in your career.

What is the Five Minute Favor?

Adam Grant, professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, who came across the five minute habit of successful Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs while writing his bestselling book “Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success”. Five minute favor is “a simple practice of being in the mindset of carving out just five minutes of your day to do something that will benefit the lives of others in your network — without expecting anything in return.”

The significance of Five-Minute favor is beyond oneself.

The outcome is a diverse set of skills that would be nurtured within the community, normalizing a work culture that encourages asking for help. Genuine characterisitc of helping others will create “… a group of strangers and quickly build a certain level of trust between them — or rather to allow for the rapid assessment of each individual’s trustworthiness.” This simple act will establish a loyal, competitive, and diverse group of team players.

How can you be part of this community?

There are different ways to be a part of or to start this powerful technique in your circle by taking only five minutes of your day. As I have experienced first hand, the outcome is invaluable.

  1. Be a super-connector: This is a shift of short term outcome mindset toward a longer term success. The super-connector can be spotted in a networking event when they encounter a person they ask themselves “How can I be of value to them?”

This type of people are “elite networker”, as Adam Connor puts it, that want to get to know people and offer them help with no return expectation. These people are usually the givers or even the matchers. For example, one of the authors in my community was looking for people who are a first generation immigrant to interview for her book. I fit the description perfectly, so I offered to help her with nothing in return.

Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.” — Henry Ford

2. Be a constructive feedback giver:

  • When you come across a product on the internet that you have used, leave insightful and constructive feedback to help the seller improve their product. Let the seller know what stood out to you.
  • If you come across a job position online or on LinkedIn share it with your circle or post it on your social media. Let others know about the great opportunities in the field.

“What distinguishes modern art from the art of other ages is criticism.” — Octavio Paz

3. Provide an endorsement: This can be easily done on LinkedIn. My classmates and I would take time to endorse people we have worked with on projects and know their capabilities and strengths. This can really help boost someone’s reputation. It is important that people around you confirm your strength and add their own unique touch to it.

4. Stay social: No one gets to the top on their own. You need to take time to interact with other people through events, workshops, tweets, comments, etc. This is a great way to spread ideas and grow personally and professionally.

5. Do not hoard: This is really important and many people who are new to the game may make this rookie mistake. If you are advancing in your job, you should advocate for your circle and put in a good word for them in your meetings. This can also change the way you present yourself within your company. Your boss will look at you as a proactive team player and someone who wants to advance the company.

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” — Winston Churchill




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Zahra Mesrizadeh

Zahra Mesrizadeh

Future Best-Selling Author | Future Forbes Under 30 | Storytelling: Personal Growth-Science-Politics-Tech-Cognition| Nanovaccine Researcher | Foodie 🍣🍝🍕🍫

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