A Different Way of Looking at Networking

If you read this blog with any regularity, you know that I am a huge fan of the newest incarnation of SUCCESS Magazine.  SUCCESS always delivers great content with solid ideas on how become more successful in your life and career.

The December issue is no exception.  Tim Sanders, author of Love is the Killer App and The Likeability Factor, has a great article entitled, “The Gift That Keeps On Giving: Networking Your Way to Personal Gold.”

Networking is an important tool for creating positive personal impact – and positive personal impact is one of the keys to success that I discuss in Straight Talk for Success.

When most people think of networking, they think “who can I meet that can help me succeed and achieve my goals?”  Tim turns this idea on its head by suggesting that you should think “Who can I connect to help both of them succeed and achieve their goals?”  In other words, you should network not just to make contacts that might be helpful to you, you should network to help bring other people together.

Tim says…

“Your network is your net worth.  It is your greatest asset…Your network is something within your control.  You develop it, nurture it and eventually cultivate its fruits over time.  How do you grow it?  By giving it away!”

I agree.  I’ve lived by the rule, “Be willing to give away what you want,” for some time now.  And it works.  If you want respect, give respect to other people.  Or, more to the point of this post, if you want to build your network, give your network to people who can benefit from it.

Tim says:

“When I get a business card and enter it into my contacts database, I use the miscellaneous field as the ‘should meet’ file.  In other words, when I input a new person’s information, I also speculate about who they should meet.  Every week I have a networking goal of introducing three people in a powerful way, then disappearing.  Sometimes, I make the introduction via a network lunch.  However, being as busy as I am, I’ve resorted to three-way email introductions.”

This works.  I have found that I tend to do this naturally.  One of my gifts is an innate ability to connect people.  There have been many times when I have been at a party, looked around and realized that I was the only person there who knew everyone else who was there.  Further, I had introduced many people in the room who had since become good friends.

I also do this consciously.  A couple of months ago, I was at a client’s office to congratulate her on a big promotion she had just received.  She said, “A lot of this is due to you.  When I joined this company, you went out of your way to introduce me to people you thought I should know.  I really appreciated that.  It helped me make the connections I needed to get this promotion.  You didn’t need to do that, but you did.  I thank you for that from the bottom of my heart.”

I introduced this woman to people that I knew in her company, because she is sharp.  I felt that I could help her, the people to whom I introduced her, and her company by helping her get acquainted with the right people faster.  She is the kind of person who would have made these connections on her own anyway.  All I did was speed up the process – and create a friend and client for life in the process.

There is a common sense point to all of this.  Networking is important to creating positive personal impact.  The more people you have in your network – especially people who think well of you – the better off you are.  These people will say good things about you to the people they know.  Everyone can benefit from this type of viral publicity.  However, savvy networkers don’t seek out this viral pub.  Instead, they connect other people. As Tim Sanders says, “It’s a matter of trust, commitment and compassion for other people.”  Dale Carnegie who knew a thing or two about networking and building relationships always said, “You will accomplish more in the next two months, developing a sincere interest in two people, than you’ll accomplish in the next two years, trying to get people interested in you.”

That’s my take on giving away your network.  What’s yours?  Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts with us.  I appreciate every one of your comments.  And, as always, thanks for reading.


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  1. Bud,
    Whenever I am speaking with people, I like to use the phrase “building bridges”. The more time you spend building bridges, the more places you can easily go in life. Too often it seems that people spend more time burning bridges then building them and they don’t realize how much it really affects their situations. I try to inform everyone (especially those that I work with) to build bridges with great people and what most often occurs is great results.
    Fantastic post Bud.
    Steve W.

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