Today, I would like to lightly touch upon the matters of communication, arrogance and first impressions – specifically for anyone ambitious enough to start their own venture.

Recently, I sent a polite email to a guy who is venturing into his first start up. Now, keep in mind that I briefly met this guy at some conference – meaning: I don’t know anything about him. Several months after this event, I was interested in what he was up to and decided to send him a friendly email out of the blue. I got the following amusing response:

dilanka.cc

“…bring value to my projects..”

Riiight.

How can I bring value into a project when I:

a.) barely know this person

b.) know nothing about his revolutionary “projects” ?

Always be in the mindset of “How can I help you?” instead of “How can YOU help me?” because the latter not only comes across as someone who is an amateurish egotist – it’s rarely beneficial to either party. No need to let people run all over you – but be polite, direct and friendly. It can only serve you well.

Before we move on – here is a good example of what to do in this scenario:

dilanka.cc

“..If you ever need anything that I can help you out with, do not hesitate to ask. I am always happy to connect with people and help them in any way I can..”

This is how professionals deal with simple – yet important matters.

I remember Jay Abraham telling a story about how everyone in a marketing convention raised their hand when asked the question “Who here wants to sell something?” and only a handful of people raised their hand when asked, “Who here wants to buy something?” How is it possible that these so-called “expert marketers” miss something so crucial? You cannot sell product A to person B if person B is looking to buy product C, yet most of the marketers in this conference were completely unaware of it. Being out of touch as a competent marketer is not as uncommon as one might think – after all mediocrity is an industry standard these days.

Make it a priority to help and educate people in your industry instead of acting like a snobby first timer – especially if you are a bit younger. In my experience, employing any other strategy will significantly increase the number of undetectable, long-term back-lashing effects. (We will ignore exceptions for now) This is a basic tenet of reciprocity. If you are one of these egotistical “What can you do for me” people, drop it now.

You are only advertising your exasperating demeanor and reinforcing your lack of experience. Truth is, unless you are rolling in some serious fuck you money, it’s not a very effective way to do business. Wanting others to do your work not only makes you look amateurish, you may have permanently damaged a potentially good relationship. Since you have even less data to guide your interaction – be especially careful when dealing with complete strangers. Unless you consider yourself to be an expert at gauging their overall character, keep your ego out of it. Pissing off people is not a problem – but pissing off the wrong person can have some serious long-term effects.

You are not building anything revolutionary. Silly goose.

Seriously. The math/probability of succeeding is against you, so why would you want to act a fool on the way to the top?

Always be the first to initiate contact with anyone. This will give you the upper hand in the interaction. Given my skepticism about the nature of altruism in human beings – I will assume that your behavior stems from pure selfishness. I advise that you do the same. If you are trying to gain something from the other party, create relationships first then worry about value. This can be in the form of a business or personal advantage. Doesn’t matter.

During the entire interaction however, it is important to be genuinely detached from the outcome – otherwise it will be unconsciously telegraphed, thereby making your entire interaction counterproductive.

Lastly, know that no one owes you anything.

Because they don’t.