I’ve finally broken my addiction to World of Warcraft (again, but that’s a post for another day). Although it was mostly a giant $15/month waste of time, I do feel like I learned a few things from it.
In the few months that I played, I went from being an unknown, to an officer in my guild and a friend to all. I helped people every day with quests. And if I ever needed help, I could always find someone to stop what they were doing and lend a hand.
The list below is my attempt to take my experiences in World of Warcraft and turn them into lessons about networking with other people:
Be Helpful – Find out what you can do to make someone’s life easier and do it. 90% of people will respond with a simple “ty”. Some won’t even bother with a response. But a few people will remember you and look for your help again. These are the people that will help you someday in return.
Be Giving – Everyone likes to receive gifts. If you’re a programmer, contribute to an open source project. If you’re an artist, give away some of your work for free. If you have a web hosting account, host someone’s domain for free. Again, if you give things away, someone will return the favor one day.
Be Humble – This is a fine line to walk. You want everyone in the world to know what you’re capable of doing, but no one likes a braggart. Don’t promise anything you can’t deliver. It’s always better to under-promise and over-deliver than to do the opposite.
Be Grateful – Let someone else be the hero. Ask for help when you need it, and then praise those who help you. If someone does a nice thing for you, remember them and pay them back when you can. Follow up with a thank you note, an e-mail, or a mention on your blog.
Be Consistent – It’s important that you’re almost always available if you want to build relationships with people. It’s hard to become friends with someone who’s always asleep when you’re online. Let others know when you’re available and how to get in touch with you.
Be Selective – Ignore the idiots in the world. There are always going to be people who’s goal in life is to make others feel bad. Some people think the only way to lift themselves up is by putting other people down. Ignore these people and they will die alone.
I’m going to continue trying to translate these ideas in real world practices and see how far it takes me. If you have any ideas about networking with people online, I’d love to hear them.