I received a number of comments on my "Networking for actors ..." post.
Evidently, I struck a chord with folks, and I've received a bunch of positive (and not negative) Emails. That never happens.
Like this nugget from Peter K. O'Connell, President of audio'connell Voice Over Talent, and a top-notch professional voice actor (Peter gave me permission to reprint his note in its entirety):
Usually, those folks who assume someone "giving" to another business person has an "angle" express such behavior because that indeed is how they think. THEY approach a networking opportunity with their angle and assume that's how everyone does it; that of course, is not true.
These "anglers" are also lousy listeners; networking is about receiving and transmitting in equal parts for both parties. Anglers don't get that. Networking is also about forming lasting relationships (the business kind, not lovey-dovey, mushy-mushy).
Years ago I belonged to a networking/lead generation group called BNI whose premise was "givers gain". While it seemed to fall on deaf ears to many in the group making the chapter I was in not as successful as it might have been (hence the term “premise”), the concept was spot on. Those giving leads, those supporting others in the network would receive leads because people want to do business with and refer business to people they like and trust. To a point, a giver is both likeable and trustworthy.
Finally, supporting again what you've said, asking about the other person a lot in a networking conversation and talking about your business not as much will have a more positive impact on the budding relationship. This is because of your demonstrated selflessness AND the fact that when you DO speak, chances are the other person is more interested in what you have to say and also in actually helping you. By listening, you've formed an early trust, appeared likeable and become someone they want to do business with or refer business to.
The best news is even if an “angler” reads this, it won’t ring true to them. Its not how they’re wired. More leads and better business relationships, then, for the rest of us.
As an aside, the reason I don't allow automatic comments on my blogs is because it can be such a can of worms (same reason I don't currently do MySpace). I'm rethinking that, based on recent feedback and dialog I've been getting from folks I like a respect.
Maybe I'll turn comments on and approve or moderate them? We'll see.