It’s not me, it’s you

“If there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that life is a virtuous cycle — when you keep on giving, eventually you get”…

These are the words of Jodi Glickman from her latest HBR piece on networking. The idea of pure generosity, of “it’s not about me, it’s about you”, isn’t something that comes naturally to all of us, but it’s a skill that improvisers hone again and again.

For an improviser, it isn’t about you at all (it, meaning the scene, the game, the moment)…. it is all in support of the other person.

The mantra we adopt is: Make Your Partner Look Good.

What does this do and how does it help us? Well it’s not dissimilar from how we would network at a party or social event.

Focusing on offering support of the other person takes away some of the worry of self-scrutiny, and carrying a conversation. By being curious and generous we find new ways to connect with people, listen for what matters to someone and try to find ways to offer support, understanding, or assistance by “yes, and’ing” their thoughts and answers.

We can learn from anyone and everyone.

And we have something to offer anyone and everyone – it may not be there in that moment but perhaps in the future.

If you can approach a conversation this way, instead of “what can you do for me?”, you’ll find the ease of networking. It just takes some practice.