‘Un-Networking’: The Art Of Leading With Yourself, Not Your Business Card

We live in an age where you have just a few seconds to impress someone with your website, tagline, or bio.

We have become masters at engineering the “perfect” profiles to hook others in and the right pitches to land the job or career advancements we want. If you can outperform your competition, or your business has 100,000 likes on Facebook, by today’s standards, you should feel accomplished.

But the truth is, most of us are still starving for something more.

We’re tired of having to impress all the time and are sick of the superficial, transaction-based relationships. We want to be seen for something deeper than our LinkedIn profiles or our ability to add zeroes to a spreadsheet. We want to be seen for who we are.

That’s why two millennials are taking a stand for a deeper kind of business connection based on depth and substance. No more leading with your business card, period.

Meet Bri Seeley and Thaís Sky, the founders of The AMPLIFY Collective, a movement to unite entrepreneurs on the basis of who they are, rather than what they do. The LA-based duo is famous for hosting standout events that provide entrepreneurs with both the authentic connection they crave and the business collaboration they need to thrive.

I caught up with Seeley and Sky on the latest episode of the Unconventional Life podcast, “Un-Networking: Build a Network You Can Depend On By Leading With Yourself, Not Your Business Card.”

Sky and Seeley launched The AMPLIFY Collective as an alternative approach to the traditional way of networking. They found that, despite having extensive networks, many entrepreneurs were still starving for real and authentic connection.

The AMPLIFY Collective was born from the idea that you don’t have to sacrifice friendship for success. You can actually have the best of both worlds: meaningful, one-to-one relationships within a community of ambitious entrepreneurs who have your back.

The secret lies in what Sky and Seeley call “un-networking,” a methodology they developed that fosters connection on the grounds of who you are, rather than what you have accomplished.

“It’s more important to show up as who you are than what you do. Don’t lead as your job title—it creates a barrier between people. Form a relationship first, get to know the other person and then call them up for their business skills because you love who they are,” Seeley says.

The duo claims that when we approach business collaboration from an authentic standpoint, it yields better results. According to the Harvard Business Review, when authenticity is perceived in a business relationship, trust, engagement, and commitment are highest.

“Business takes place in a greater capacity without the cheesy elevator pitch,” Sky jokes. “Too many of us hide behind what we do without getting to the core of who we are. People buy from us because of who we are, not because of our website.”

The AMPLIFY Collective currently hosts three events per month to entrepreneurs through its membership offering. The events are distinguished for squashing superficial, transactional exchanges in the name of refreshingly intimate and genuine connection.

Below, Seeley and Sky share how you can transform your own business relationships to feel meaningful and relevant to you

1. Lead with yourself. Who you are is your greatest accomplishment, and should be at the forefront of an introduction. Lead with what it is that wakes you up in the morning and drives you every single day, or the kind of change you’re standing for in the world. Make sure to omit your job title and how successful you are—these things are secondary and have nothing to do with you.

2. Focus on the value you get from the relationship. Don’t go into an interaction with an agenda or something you’re trying to get from the other person. Instead, simply let the relationship with that person and the joy you get from knowing them be enough. Others can sense when your motivation for connecting with them isn’t pure and it creates a barrier between you both. If you do really need help with something, disclose that and be fully transparent rather than coercive.

3. Let the business value emerge from a space of authenticity. Let the foundation for your connection be a commitment to show up as a friend for the other person regardless of what you get in return. From that space, allow any business collaboration to emerge organically. An added benefit to waiting is that you are more likely to understand the other person’s unique skill set and where they are best suited to serve you after you really know them. The quality of the collaboration will be much higher as well as feel better for you both—instead of feeling used or disposable, you’ll feel like a valued friend.

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This article originally appeared on Forbes.com