Congressman Tip O’Neill was a master politician. And most everyone always wanted favors from the former Speaker of the House. But before visitors would come a-calling, Tip would direct his staff:
Don’t take nobody, nobody brought.
Tip found it best to bestow favors only on the advice of a known, trusted third party.
In days past a trusted third party, an individual could be trusted to peddle influence. Today the trend is to use a trusted individual: a friend who visits you in your car, home or office over the radio.
Here’s how it worked in O’Neill’s office. The vector — the connector, would be known to both Tip and known to the supplicant. Introductions made. Wheels greased. The fix in.
The Irish know how to do these things. Tip O’Neill. Ronald Reagan. Chris Matthews. Tip O’Neill knew that trusting a third party would accomplish two very important objectives for a politician. 1) Kept him out of trouble, and 2) Economy of political capital — bestowing a favor with and through a “friend” doubled the effectiveness of the favor. An easy two-fer.
What the Chinese call guanxi. Personal connections; social capital; a brand name.
These days a trusted friend with seasoned advice and wisdom can be found on the airwaves or on-line. If Anita Campbell suggests a small business trend, smart money moves. If Steve Rucinski recommends a strategy for small business CEO’s, I’m on it.
If you have a chance to get your voice heard on radio with a trusted interviewer, jump on it — people may not know you, but they may come to trust you through your host.