Mark Hopkins is a venture capitalist and the author of "Shortcut to Prosperity," which identifies successful entrepreneurial habits.
He recounts an anecdote about a young man he encountered on a hot afternoon in Boulder, Colo.:
"Boulder is the unofficial cycling capital of the country and many of us get a ride in at the end of the workday. Driving home one hot afternoon I encountered a young man who had flatted and was walking his bike in his socks. I pulled over and told him to throw his bike in the back and hop in.
"As we were driving to his apartment, I was amazed by his mood. Most people in his position would be whining, but this guy was smiling and talking about what a great day it was.
"Small talk turned to employers. He asked about my employer, listening intently as I described what our company did, and asking insightful questions about the product.
"In 15 minutes, Dave's optimism, interest in my business and winning attitude won me over. I didn't hire him on the spot, but I did refer him to my production manager with a good recommendation. He got the job."
It pays to model some specific behaviors when you get the chance to interact with someone in a position to help you.
Exhibit behaviors that cause people to think about you when they need help. And why would they? Because you make them feel good and you solve their problems.
1. Become a "can-do" problem solver. People gravitate toward (and promote) the person who has never seen a problem that couldn't be solved.
2. Go All In. It is clear when someone is fully committed to a cause, company, or person and that commitment is extremely attractive.
3. Be a world-class listener. Integrate what you hear with your own life experience and see what you can add to the mix.
4. Be upbeat, engaging, open: Be the person that everyone is always happy to see.
5. Strive for humility: It's enjoyable to be around the confident but modest professional whose performance makes it clear that she is the real deal.
Adopt these behaviors and you will earn a spot at the table.
Do what others fail to do!