Who wasn’t told as a child that it’s better to give than to receive? At the time, we might of thought that this only referred to birthday and holiday gifts, but this old adage is just as applicable now that we’re adults, especially when it comes to business networking.
If you have been to a networking event, you have probably met individuals who only want to talk about themselves. They have unfortunately mastered the “it’s all about me” mode of communication.” They’ll corner you to tell you about what they do and what type of leads they are seeking, never asking you anything about yourself. Meanwhile, your mind drifts elsewhere as you try to plan your escape from their clutches. These same people will also be the first ones to email or call you, not to ask how they can be of assistance to you, but rather to obtain contacts or introductions to others. Are they kidding?
What these “takers” have forgotten is that networking is a two-way street. It’s not about selfishly achieving the goal of finding that “direct fit” with the product or service that you provide. Rather, networking is the selfless art of facilitating introductions to help others.
Yes, networking is all about giving, and not always about receiving. But, there is a lot to be gained in the process of networking. By helping others connect, you contribute to a world of concentric circles that can spawn many new connections. And, you might just be surprised how your generosity turns into successful leads for yourself. Think of this process as “networking karma.”
For those who continue to wear “networking blinders,” only thinking of how others can help them, they are missing out on many, many opportunities beyond their immediate sphere of influence. So, at your next networking event, keep in mind what you learned long ago about giving and receiving as you meet others, and watch how your connections grow.