Gosh! Napoleon Dynamite’s Guide to Social Networking

February 17, 2012

If you’re not an idiot, you’ve seen the movie. Now, with even bigger hair and sweeter dance moves, five hints on social networking from the master, Napoleon Dynamite!

1. Give, like, creative and real compliments.

“You have a sweet bike. And you’re really good at hooking up with chicks. Plus you’re like the only guy at school who has a mustache.”

Take time each day to give genuine compliments to the people around you. Having trouble thinking of things? Make an effort to take joy in small things and you’ll soon find things to compliment. The barista who remembers what coffee you like? Say more than “thanks” next time you get a dark roast. The coworker who always adds a creative edge to projects? Take a moment to recognize the added value and share how much you appreciate it! Once you make a habit of giving compliments, you’ll find they flow off your tongue without much effort at all. When you are known for recognizing value in the people around you, your network will grow.

2. Don’t let other people take all your time or space or steak.

“Well, I have all your equipment in my locker. You should probably come get it cause I can’t fit my numchucks in there anymore.”

In order to successfully pursue your own passions, it’s vital that you set limits on how you let others use your time. When your social network is small, it’s tempting to instantly pick up the phone, answer emails, IM, text, tweet, comment, Digg, Stumble, and give a video response to every nudge, ping, poke, and beg that comes across you table. This can grow into a monster that spreads you so thin that you no longer have energy for yourself and the people you hold most dear. The monster will also eat your steak.

3. Work your connections for others so they get sweet stuff, too.

“Pedro offers you his protection.”

You may not know somebody with skills to save people from certain destruction, but you might know the owner of the best place in town to get tots when you’re hungry! A great networker isn’t just a resource but a channel through which the needs and talents of others connect. A good friend comes to your house and tries to help you fix your toilet. A great networker knows a trustworthy plumber who will fix your toilet and takes you out for a drink to celebrate the victory!

4. Have a totally awesome story and tell it like its just happened!

“I spent it [the summer] with my uncle in Alaska hunting wolverines! [I shot] Like 50 of ‘em! They kept trying to attack my cousins, what the heck would you do in a situation like that?”

If you live an interesting life, your network will grow organically out of the connections you make in your travels and conversations with new people. It’s important to strengthen those connections by including others in your story and telling it in an exciting way. One of the powerful human emotions is the one that comes through reminiscing about past adventures. Make sure you’re a part of as many adventures as possible and share those stories with the people you meet. There’s no need to brag though. Not everybody gets to spend their summers in Alaska.

5. Find what makes others happy and help them do those things.

“Sorry I’m late. I just got done taming a wild honeymoon stallion for you guys.”

If you take the time to learn about the people in your network, you’ll soon find that many people have dreams that are entirely possible given a bit of your help. They might not want to ride off into the sunset on a honeymoon stallion, and you might not be able to even tame a wild and dangerous horse. But you might know a realtor who shares great deals or a landscaper who can make a magical garden. Combine your talents with knowledge of the people you care about to create a strong and delicious network.

Note: I was looking through pingbacks while setting up the new look for my site and found this from 2009. I’d entered it into an article contest and recall being particularly pleased when Pete Cashmore shared the link. I won, of course.

sethsimonds

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