Contributed by Jay Clouse 
Unreal Collective | Columbus, OH

I receive Jay’s daily email. We were in altMBA12 together. There’s been a connection since we first met this summer. Today’s post was perfect and articulates perfectly how I have approached networking. I hope you enjoy this guest post from a fellow Seth Godin fan.

Originally Shared via Jay’s Blog

As you are probably already aware, I’m a big Seth Godin fan.

Seth Godin thinks differently about marketing than most marketing gurus – and I love it. Recently I watched a video where he described permission marketing.

Every time you engage with someone, you are either making yourself more irreplaceable (and justifying why paying attention to you is worth it) or you are taking a valuable resource: someone’s attention.

Attention is precious. It’s not refundable and it’s always limited.

Godin is describing modern marketing and communication – email lists, social media, advertising, etc. His point here is that a specific message needs to be adding value, or you are wasting your time.

His expanded viewpoint on this topic is that most modern marketers are focused on short term wins for their company/organization/cause and not putting emphasis on the receiver of the message.

And his thesis is that this selfish form of marketing will come back to bite us, making attention an even more difficult and valuable asset to command.

So to him, the time is now to focus on “permission marketing” – marketing that is done by gaining permission from the receiver of the message. Every time you then engage with your audience, you are making yourself more irreplaceable and proving your value.

Would people miss you (or your message) if it was gone?

That’s how I approach this newsletter, and that’s how I’ve implicitly approached “networking” as well. Networking for networking sake (i.e. “collecting” contacts) is not providing value. It is not demonstrating why you are worthwhile of attention.

Instead, relentlessly provide value to someone you’re trying to get close to. Connect them to someone else, send them some piece of information you think is valuable to them, or invite them to an event they could benefit from.

When the expectation of your message (or presence) is positive, new worlds open up.

Read more about Jay here

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A few years ago, someone asked me this question:

“What advice would you give to someone who is just getting started as a professional?”

… and my answer hasn’t changed.

Show Up … and Listen.

Your input isn’t going to matter if your only platform is your social media persona. Participation means showing up. That’s where people really start to listen, because you took the time to show up makes it more tangible. The opportunity to look into someone’s eyes makes it possible to know who they are. And it gives them a chance to know who you are.

Are you authentic, abrasive, kind, thoughtful, polite, well-mannered, rude?

It’s easy to paint a perfect picture of yourself when you choose your words, and your profile picture to paint the best version of yourself.

But that doesn’t tell the whole story, and it’s not 100% true. Even if you try to show who you really are in your social feed. Who you are depends on who you are when you show up and who you are online. It’s not one or the other. It’s both.

20 years ago, “showing up” was the only way to connect — and it made it harder to make a name for yourself, because most people were busy doing their thing, and it was impossible to know anyone, unless they did show up.

Today, showing up means being engaged in the community in a meaningful, purposeful way. It means supporting others and allowing others to share their concerns, passions and ideas.

You can make a name for yourself simply by participating in the conversation online, but your relevance won’t be confirmed until you take it one more step. Not just once, or twice. Not just because it’s a thing you need to check off the list. But by leaning in and staying connected, between the “IRL” (In real Life) meetings by listening to what people care about.

Success requires that you understand the relationships, to share your own passion, and allow people to hear your thoughts in person. The nuances we can hide behind online are out in the open, and real trust and communication can begin to take place — when you let people know who you really are.

Because, who you really are is what people want to know, and what allows business to take place, and trust and respect to exist.