Last week on the train ride home from work I witnessed a random act of kindness that I have never seen before. This is a great example of last week’s post Are You Giving Your Best To Your Network?
A 22-year-old girl paid a “step-up” fare (an extra fare charged for traveling at a peak time with an off-peak ticket) for a total stranger who did not have any money on him. Random acts of kindness play a huge role in networking. Here’s what happened:
Conductor: “Sir, you are on a peak train and you have an off peak ticket. I need to charge you a $6.00 step up fare”
Man: “I did not realize that. I currently do not have any money on me.”
Conductor (rudely): “I am going to have to write you a ticket and you can mail in your payment.”
Girl: (without blinking an eye): “I have $6.00.”
She paid the conductor and the conductor walked away.
Man: “I feel so embarrassed”
Girl: “There is nothing to be embarrassed about. It used to happen to me all the time. I always make sure I have money on me now.”
Man: “Thanks again, I really appreciate it.”
The Girl: “It was my pleasure. I didn’t want you to have to go through the horrible process of paying your ticket by mail.”
Then they continued to talk for the rest of the train ride.
In my opinion this 22-year-old girl did two of the most important things a networker can do.
Lesson 1: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
The best networkers know how to make people feel comfortable in an uncomfortable situation. They “Never Act Like The Smartest Guy In The Room.” The girl made the man feel comfortable by telling him that it used to happen to her all the time. She used herself as an example to create an instant connection. She let the man know that she could relate to how he was feeling since she had been in the situation before. The ability to relate to people on many different levels without making them feel like they are below you is essential when you are networking.
Lesson 2: The fastest way to build a relationship is to help a person in a time of need when they least expect it.
In my experience helping someone when they least expect it builds an instant connection. The article “Get Off Your High Horse” is a great example of this. The other day a person I did not know reached out to me on LinkedIn about a project she was working on. She was looking for companies or people to sponsor her project. I told her that I would forward her idea to a couple of people in my network and see if they were interested or if they knew anyone in their networks who would be interested. I forwarded the opportunity to my network and sent her the feedback that I received about her project. The person was extremely grateful. It took me less than an hour to send the opportunity to my network, but it meant the world to her. Sometimes all it takes is a small action to create a lasting relationship.
When was the last time when you helped a complete stranger unexpectedly? I would love to hear about it.
Please share this article with your network if you find it helpful.