Networking for Success

with Adam Rifkin

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Takers receive more than they give

Adam Rifkin

Co-Founder of PandaWhale, Most Networked, Giver

Lessons Learned

Sometimes doing business with takers makes sense.

A faker is someone who is actually a taker but presents himself as a giver.

Be Yourself. Own It. Bold & Unapologetic.


Lesson: Networking for Success with Adam Rifkin

Step #2 Take: Takers receive more than they give

There's many ways to deal with takers that I found, from the very simple which is to just ignore them, to the very complicated which is to engage them and show them they're been takers. The level to which you engage that taker really depends on how much you want to build the relationship with the person. My willingness to tell a taker, "Hey, in this situation, you are being very selfish and that's actually going to cause blow back to you later on." I've done that a few times but it's only with people that I really cared about. Basically, I took my personal context with them, that relationship, and I used it to give them very real feedback about some behavior that I saw them doing.

I think that's up to each person. I think it's totally valid to just ignore the taker or to say, "You know what? I don't like the way that you're doing business. I'm not going to do business with you." I think that's totally valid. It really depends on context. Every relationship involves two people and you, as the one person seeing the other person, have to decide what you're willing to invest in that relationship. I wouldn't go as far as to say that I only do business with givers. There are plenty of situations in which doing business with takers makes a lot of sense. In fact, I don't think the ecosystem would work if it was nothing but givers because of what I said earlier. Givers are very reluctant to ask for help and I think asking for help is an important part of the system that helps to strengthen the connections between people.

Most fakers that I encounter, I just ignore them. I don't give them time. I certainly don't spend my energy on them. But every once in a while there'll be somebody that I'm close to, somebody that I went to college with or somebody who I've worked with in the past and I'll see them doing it. I think the key is to not embarrass them in public but really to talk to them in private and say, "This is what you did. This is how it comes across, at least to me. Do you want to talk about this or are you comfortable with being perceived that way?"

It's really surprising. Some fakers are actually very comfortable with it and others say they have no idea that's how they came across and they want to actually work on that. Ultimately, it's up to the person to decide who they are and who they want to project themselves as. The key for me or for anybody who's in my situation is just to offer the actual real feedback. This is what I think. This is what I see. And then either engage them or not as a result to that.

Almost always, a faker reveals themselves. I don't think the key is to get angry because anger expends your energy. Let's say you only have a certain amount of energy each day. That is not worth spending energy on. Your startup is worth spending energy on, your relationships are worth spending energy on, but anger at people for the way they behave, that doesn't help you and it doesn't help them.

A faker is somebody who is a taker but they actually try to present themselves like a giver. The interesting part about that is that people can see through it. Just because you behave like a giver doesn't necessarily make you a giver. The fundamental principle of giving is that you be authentic about it. This is one thing that I really like about the book and its applicable not just to your business life but to your personal life as well is, you have to figure out who you are and then you have to be that. There's no judgment that's placed against the takers. In fact, there are lots of takers in society and it's important that the ecosystem have some of each.

The key is to figure out who you are and to be that because authenticity is much more important than trying to fix something that is not you. People generally do see it so you can't get over on people like that. Instead, you should just be yourself, bold and unapologetic; I think is the word that Adam Grant uses.

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