Networking – a term that at times gets over-used in our social media driven world – is the secret sauce when it comes to developing professional relationships. However, the problem with networking is that so many people violate the golden rule; I see it all the time with people who reach out to become connected on LinkedIn. They immediately try to sell you something. It doesn’t work. Which is why I want to focus on how to fix this single biggest mistake people make when it comes to networking.
The Golden Rule of Networking
This failure brings to light the golden rule of networking that I’ve tried to follow over the years: Give before you get.
Be willing to make deposits before you begin to make withdrawals. This means investing time to nurture and build relationships without expecting anything in return, at least immediately.
A great example of networking that works is from a friend who’s in the hunt for his next job and saw a C-level posting that looked like it had been written just for him. By reaching out to a member of his professional network, he got a key introduction to an executive at the company. He now has a personal connection inside that successfully bypassed the computer bot scanning all the applications. His resume is at the top of the pile.
Think about the most important networks in your own life: co-workers, teammates, fellow alums, those who share your hobby, church, and of course family.
It’s the relationships and the connections that make these important and everlasting.
And the way to keep building value in your network is to nurture it, one relationship at a time. Just remember to think about “giving” before you aim for any “getting.”