Networking 201 – Give it up
This week we want to go a bit deeper into our examination of how to network in your community. We are going to address your physical community this week, the one you find just outside your door. We will leave networking digitally for another time, but the principles below work equally well in both worlds. You might want to consider quickly reviewing our previous articles on networking to cover the basics.
Give some consideration to this simple principle: we are more likely to give assistance to people who appear equally eager to assist us in our efforts. The essence of networking is, at heart, the promise of partnership. For that reason, it is not enough to let others know about our own business and our personal needs. More important to those others with whom you network is what you can do for them. That is why many of the best networking opportunities take place outside of the context of business functions in venues such as volunteering for charities and civic functions.
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Spend some time at every networking function thinking about the needs of others. Giving of yourself, making it clear that you have every intention of assisting others, makes you a more likely target for the same treatment. People do business with people they like, and a charitable nature will provide the natural pathway to empathetic behavior.
So if you want referrals, give referrals to others first. If you want someone to patronize your business, patronize theirs first. Want people to understand how you work and what you do? Show the appropriately intense interest in their business as well.
Give first. The getting will take care of itself if done appropriately.
Because we want our efforts to be authentic, choose your networking venues well and strategically, but be sure to choose activities with which you have a real affinity and attraction. Your interest and concern will show. The combination of an authentic persona and placing yourself in situations conducive to giving to others is almost certain to open doors which will assist you with generating a prosperous and good-hearted business effort.