Networking is all around us; even when we’re not physically at that business breakfast or evening buffet handing out the business cards, many of us are linking in and tweeting to the world at large. The basics don’t change though; networking is still about building relationships with people who will come to know, like and trust you, as Bob Berg famously wrote in his book, Endless Referrals.
Have you ever met the networker who wants it all but gives nothing back? The person who is delighted when you agree to deliver a free seminar to their networking group but who then forgets to pass on a single referral or the contact details they promised?
The best networkers pay it forward; they pass on good information and contacts to others without even waiting to be asked.
This week, why not trawl through your (probably huge) contact list, and highlight those people who have really helped you, or put business your way, or who have acted as ambassadors for your business. I suggest you might end up with a list of 10-15 or so. Take time to catch up with them; if you haven’t been in touch for a while, find out what they’re doing and where their current interests lie. If you’ve spoken fairly recently, take a minute to think about what they’re currently engaged on.
Now think about information you have – online seminars you know about, conferences you’ve attended, TED talks you’ve viewed, articles you’ve read, or contacts you’ve made. Somewhere in all that will be knowledge you’ve gained that could benefit your network buddies. Match up the information with the appropriate recipient and spend an hour or so renewing that personal contact in an old-fashioned way. Remember those old-fashioned communication methods (the phone? the letter?) – why not surprise the recipient of your thoughtfulness by making direct contact? And I’ll bet you it pays off.
One last thing – when someone else does you a favour, remember to say Thanks!