It’s not what you know, it’s not who you know, it’s who knows you

A common saying (some would say excuse) is “it’s now what you know, it’s who you know”.

First of all, I don’t agree with this because I do believe knowledge is power and too often, people use this as an excuse for why they didn’t get something they wanted. I do agree that if there are two people of equal talent and experience, if one knows the person doing the hiring and the other doesn’t, the one who knows the person has a better chance of getting the job. However, if one person is much better than the other, long term, the person who is much better will prevail. I do understand many people wont agree with this but I truly do believe that ultimately the cream does rise to the top.

Having written this, there is no doubt that connections do help. They help when the two people of equal talent are wanting the same thing. They help to make the initial contact.

Since most people agree that having connections is helpful, the thing to understand is while it’s nice to know people, it’s much more important for other people to know you. You might think this is the same thing but the reality is, it’s quite different.

Think about the people you have met at a meeting, met at a party or met somewhere else. You might think “I know them” but this doesn’t do you any good if they don’t remember having met you.

It’s easy to forget this simple concept online, it’s something that happens all the time. You might follow someone on Twitter, regularly read their wall on facebook, read their blog all the time etc but this just means you know what they are writing. It still doesn’t mean you know them and it certainly doesn’t mean they know you.

As an example, last January I was at a soccer convention and was introduced to someone who felt we knew each other well. He said he had been reading my soccer newsletters for 8 years and had read all of my soccer books. In his mind, this meant he truly knew me. What he didn’t understand is this just meant he knew what I cared to share about soccer, nothing more. Also, while he had sent me a few emails over the years with questions, and I had answered them, this didn’t mean I knew who he was at all.

If you want someone to know you, give them a reason. Do something for them. If you want a business person to know you, figure out a way you can help their business (not a way their business can help you but how you can help them).

Getting people to know you takes time and effort. It works best when you are someone who thinks long term. It also works best when you are doing it to truly help others and not simply trying to bank favors for the future.

Remember, it’s not who you know that matters, it’s who knows you

Have a great day!


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