Sometimes networking feels a little selfish. How do I make sure I’m not taking more than I’m giving?
It turns out that the best networking is mutually beneficial and bi-directional in nature. Sometimes you will give a little… sometimes you will get a little. That is not to say that it has to be quid pro quo in any way. In fact, you never know which side of the equation you may find yourself on in any given interaction. That said, I find that the more you give in a networking relationship, the way more you get back in return – from people and places unexpected.
Let’s say you meet with someone, we’ll call her Jane, maybe over a cup of coffee, without any sales pitch or expectation of remuneration on your part – it’s just a networking conversation. During your visit, you give her something… maybe some advice, perhaps an introduction. The meeting was great. You decide to stay in touch.
A couple of weeks, maybe a month goes by, and you run across an article in your local Business Journal that reminds you of your conversation with Jane. You think she’d enjoy the article, too. So, you send her an email with a link to the piece – or maybe you clip it out of the paper and pen a quick handwritten note to drop in the mail to her. What a nice gesture.
Next, your company purchases a table at an upcoming conference. You reach out to Jane to see if she would like to join you as your guest at the event. She gratefully accepts.
Give… Give… Give…
Suddenly, from out of nowhere, your phone rings. It’s a fellow who says he was referred to you by none other than Jane. In fact, he’s working on a project and believes your company has the expertise to assist in a significant way. Bam! You just made your fourth quarter numbers.
By building social capital, in this case with Jane, you gave, gave, gave in several small, seemingly innocuous ways and the return you received was many times greater in value to you. A pretty good equation for both the givers and the getters!
Do you have examples of times when your generosity paid off? Your story will be an inspiration to us all. Thank you, in advance, for your contribution! Please take a moment to comment at CoffeeLunchCoffee.com.