A secret of effective networking is to give at least as much as you take. If you only take, you’ll get a reputation for that, and in time people ill avoid you. If you give – especially if you give first, without knowing whether or not you’ll receive – people will be attracted to you. “An offer of reciprocity gets my attention,” says Alan Grafman, CEO of Modelwire. “It’s my personal secret to always ask the person I’m networking with, ‘How can I help you?’”
Why not try this technique right now? Think of a couple of people that you know who might benefit from knowing each other. Call them up, and explain that you think so-and-so would be beneficial for him or her to meet.
I recently wanted to use the professional services of an artist I know. I didn’t feel I could afford his top-drawer price, but I wanted his top-drawer work. So I explained that to him. I added, “I know you’re worth it, I just can’t afford it at this time.” Then I volunteered, “I know someone who could use your services. When we finish talking, I’ll call him and suggest that you two meet.” And I did. The second person then called and made an appointment with the artist to discuss some business. Later, the artist called me and said, “Thanks for the introduction. We’re meeting next week. And don’t worry about the price for your project, I’m going to give you what you need for a price you can afford.”
The more you do to help someone else’s career, the more willing that person will be to help yours. You know the expression, “What goes around comes around.” In the high-tech world, what goes around comes around even faster.
Debra Benton is co-author of The Leadership Mind Switch (McGraw-Hill, 2017)