Written by Jenny Blake
In the kick-off post we talked about setting clear relationship-building goals: who are your people? Who is on your wishlist for friends, career contacts, and groups? How do you prefer connecting with new people, and recharging afterward?
Once you have narrowed down who you are most excited to connect with, it is helpful to have a systematic approach for reaching out on a regular basis, in a way that is authentic to you. I focus on providing expertise, generous listening, and encouragement.
Michael Roderick loves solving problems and connecting people. He spends his days helping others create authentic relationship-building strategies. Michael believes “the keys to all of the doors that you need opened are in other people’s pockets,” and the way to find those keys is by making consistent effort over time.
Michael created the GATE Strategy as a way to do exactly that, by systematizing his relationship-building efforts.
Every Day, Open and Close the GATE
Michael says, “Every day the idea is to open and close the G.A.T.E. by making the commitment to:
Give: The most important point about this is that you give a true gift. Something you provide with no expectation of return. You find someone who you want to help and you help them in the best way you can.
Ask: Make a commitment every day to ask for something that you need. There are people in your life who are waiting to help you. Take the time to let someone know about a challenge you are having or something you could use insight on. Acknowledge what you still need help with and reach out.
Thank: Take the time each day to identify someone in your life who has done something for you and give them a clear account of how they have helped you. Say thank you in a meaningful way and make sure that the other person understands the value they added to your life. All too often we thank people in less than three sentences. We can do better.
Experiment: Every day look at your existing social systems and try something new. This could be as simple as choosing to use a different location for your one on one meetings or changing the language you use when you greet someone. In all of our social interactions there are hundreds of variables. Experiment and find new ways of interacting.
At the end of every day, close the GATE—Michael suggests taking the time to reflect on how things went:
- What was the result of the gift you gave?
- How did things go when you asked for something?
- How did the person respond when you sent that meaningful thank you?
- What did you learn from your experiment?
Over time you will start to notice patterns and be able to optimize your process. Doing this creates data you can track and use over time.
Ongoing Mastermind Groups
Some of my most cherished relationships from the last few years of being in business for myself are more structured relationships: peer mastermind groups I set up with one or two friends at a time. We schedule weekly or bi-weekly calls, and it provides a consistent through line of support, brainstorming, encouragement and celebrating. Setting up a mastermind is easy and it is free. I will never not have one.
For tips and resources on how to do this, check out the Momentum guide to Mastermind Groups.
Looking to join a tight-knit community of smart, creative people building businesses? Learn more and sign-up to get notified when the doors re-open to join Momentum.
Stay tuned for Part Three, where I’ll share creative “thank you” tips!
This article was sponsored by University of Phoenix. I’m a compensated contributor, but all thoughts and ideas are my own.
Jenny Blake is the author of Life After College and the forthcoming book The Pivot Method. She is a career and business strategist and an international speaker who helps smart people organize their brain, move beyond burnout, and build sustainable, dynamic careers they love. Jenny combines her love of technology with her superpower of simplifying complexity to help clients through big transitions — often to pivot in their career or launch a book, blog or business. Today you can find her here on this blog (in its 8th year!) and at JennyBlake.me, where she explores the intersection of mind, body and business. Follow her on Twitter @jenny_blake.