Building Decade-Long Relationships
Lessons I shared at Columbia Business School on building a professional network.
I'm writing this on my way to Las Vegas to spend Thanksgiving with my girlfriend's family. I haven't gone to Vegas in almost a decade; the last time I went, I was a teenager, and I remember it as the city that looks like a neon carnival that got lost in the desert.
Thanksgiving is about gratitude, and on that note I wanted to say how grateful I am for all of you here. For reading my content, attending my events, and contributing to the community.
I hope that I’ve been helpful to you in some way over the past year. If not – let’s make it a goal for the next one.
Enjoy today’s piece!
Last week, I was invited to speak at Columbia Business School about building a professional network.
I had forgotten how magical university campuses could be. There are few places in the world where a group of optimistic, ambitious people routinely gather – not in pursuit of profit or status, but learning, and it was inspiring to be in such an energizing environment again.
Here are the 10 points I shared:
1. Create the room (instead of trying to get in one).
I clearly remember the networking events and career fairs I went to as a student. There were often dozens of us in line, waiting for our opportunity to speak with a recruiter. To them - we were one of many and the odds were never in our favor. Instead, I thought: why not create my own event, host my own dinner, or put together my own panel?
Create the room yourself instead of trying to get into one.
2. Authentic relationships are built outside the office.
In a networking environment, you'll often hear the same questions like "What do you do?" or "Where do you work?". These often lead to monotonous conversations. Instead - bring out the humanity in yourself by showing a genuine interest in the other person as a human being. Ask questions like: "What are you excited about?" or "What's on your mind?".
Build relationships, not connections.
3. To influence someone, understand what already influences them.
The time-tested formula for influencing someone: Identify what their problems are and find a way to help them solve it. I will always try to understand someone's motivations, goals, and longer term vision before talking about myself.
Ace the test by getting the answers first.
4. Give before you ask.
The best time to build a network is when you don't need it. The worst time to build it is when you do. So, build your network ahead of time. Climb to the top, and once you do, throw a rope down for others to get there.
Pay it forward while you are ahead to build a pool of goodwill that will pay dividends for the rest of your career.
5. Share your mission with the world.
People relate to others who are striving to solve similar problems. That's why membership communities – groups of people with shared values, interests, and missions – are so powerful.
Share your mission with others and you'll gather the right people to help you along the way.
6. Be a magnet for the type of people you want to attract.
Want to meet ambitious and creative people? Be ambitious and creative. Looking to hire hardworking and diligent employees? Show that your company is hardworking and diligent. Want to work with collaborative and communicative partners? Be a collaborative and communicative partner.
Like attracts like.
7. Play the internet lottery.
By posting, sharing, engaging on the internet – you are buying a ticket in the internet lottery to maximize your likelihood of a disproportionally positive outcome. Like a sale. A new job. A new business opportunity.
Consistently create, curate, and connect online.
8. Piece together the puzzle.
By meeting new people, you are collecting the pieces that will one day be put together. Understand the goals, challenges, and needs of every person you meet, and connect them with those that can fill the gaps.
Sometimes, all it takes is one introduction to completely change the trajectory of someone’s life.
9. Make asymmetrical bets.
Ask yourself: Who is the one person in the world who can provide a massive unlock for me and my career? That person is likely more accessible than you think. But you won’t know until you DM them.
Make asymmetrical bets by taking actions that cost you a trivial amount of time and effort but can result in life-changing impacts.
10. Build decade-long relationships.
How would you treat someone if you knew you were going to be working with them for decades? You would likely be kind, genuine, and collaborative. Take that approach with all your relationships to build a foundation of trust with the people around you.
Play long-term games with long-term people.
📌 Andrew’s Picks
Fascinating internet things I’ve come across:
How to Succeed with a Startup — Sam Altman is one of the greatest operators and investors of all time. Here, he shares his principles on how founders can succeed with building a startup. I go always go back to this one from time to time.
After 1,000+ Days Of Journaling, These 10 Prompts Most Accelerated My Personal Progress – Journalling has been the single most impactful habit for my personal growth, but it can be tough to get started. Use Dickie Bush’s prompts as a jumpstart for your journaling habit.
Do You Want a Happy Life or a Memorable Life? — The art of balancing the art of sitting still and enjoying the breeze on your face vs. doing memorable and impactful thing. Read this if you’re an ambitious person.
Thanks for reading Andrew Yeung's Newsletter! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
🖼️ Behind the Scenes
This week, I found out that my O-1 Visa was approved.
My immigration issues have singlehandedly been the greatest source of stress in my past 3 years. But no more - I’m here to stay.
If you’re on a visa – or considering getting a new visa, I want to help. Fill this out.
If you’ve enjoyed the events and content over the past 2 years, good news. Big news being announced soon. Stay tuned.