Last night we were electing the 2019-2020 Toastmasters International Directors and Officers. I experienced the real “campaigning” like from the US movies. Speeches, leaflets, handshakes.
The candidates were the shining examples of niceness. All smiles, intently listening, eager to offer help. Yet – I was discounting the impression.
See, certainly better this way than if they were acting as morons; but them being nice did not make any impression on me because they had to be nice. They had something to gain from it.
This goes beyond election campaigns. When you’re asking someone to make an introduction for you, when you’re pitching your new project, when you come to the job interview: The face you present is scrutinized and many of the good things are discarded, simply because the other party knows you’ll have a quick gain from being perceived as trustworthy, resourceful or capable. That is especially true if you are presenting your “new” face to people who knew you before – when you did not appear to be so trustworthy, resourceful and capable.
“The great myth of networking is that you start reaching out to others only when you need something like a job. In reality, people who have the largest circle of contacts, mentors, and friends know that you must reach out to others long before you need anything at all.” – Keith Ferrazzi, Never Eat Alone
Here’s something to get you on the safe side: Imagine you’re standing up for an election tomorrow. When talking to others, make an effort and bring out the best in you. Maybe you won’t have any immediate gains from it – but that’s the whole point.
The things you do when you don’t have to are the things that make you who you are.