If you ask most anyone in serious networking circles what the Golden Rule of Networking is, they we reflectively respond, “Give First, Get Second.” While there is lots of truth in that answer, it is not the complete answer. It can’t be, as there is much more to successful networking than just giving.
Networking is about developing relationships with other people and then (while contributing to the lives of others) parlaying those relationships into things that benefit you …referrals … information … other contacts.
So the key to successful networking is getting lots of great people interested in you. This, however, almost begs the question, “How do I get people interested in me?”
The best way to answer that is to ask yourself this, “Why do I want to network with certain people?” After all, it only makes sense that the reasons why you want to network with certain people are likely the same reasons why others would want to network with you.
With that simple revelation, it makes perfect sense that if you adopt the same characteristics, attitudes and habits of the people you want to network with, then others will want to network with you.
In very simple terms, you need to become the person you want to network with. This is the NEW Golden Rule of Networking.
Become the person you want to network with.
So, answer this: Who do you want to network with? In the most general of terms, you want to network with people that you know, like and trust. However, you need to drill down into more specific questions, such as …
• What do you want to KNOW about others?
• What makes you LIKE others?
• What builds your TRUST in others?
If you really think about it and work to uncover the answers to these three questions, then you have found out exactly why you want to network with other people.
More importantly, however, this exercise reveals to you exactly the person you need to become to get other people to want to network with you. Again, become the person you want to network with. To get at this, take a moment to examine each of these questions.
What do we want to KNOW about others?
What do we want to KNOW about others? For example, you cannot help but be impressed by the doers of the world, as those that go the extra mile for company, community or country always seem to have a following. Why not become one?
What other qualities in people do you admire? Sense of humor? Optimism? Courage? Endeavor to take those on. Become the person you want to network with.
What makes us LIKE others?
What makes us LIKE others? As with most people, you cannot help but like people who like you and as such you want to be around people who seem to take a liking to everyone. With that little nugget, you should find a reason to like everyone and do all you can to express it as genuinely as possible.
What other characteristics in people do you find attractive? Compassion? Thoughtfulness? Generosity? You should seek to adopt those mindsets. Become the person you want to network with.
What builds our TRUST in others?
What builds our TRUST in others? Admit it, you have a natural trust for the person who does what they say they are going to do. With that, you should become the person upon which others can rely.
What traits in other people make them trustworthy in your eyes? Conscientious? Honest? Open-Minded? You should try to mimic these behaviors. Become the person you want to network with.
Yes, giving to the world around you quietly inspires others to give that generosity back. If, however, you endeavor to mirror the characteristics, attitudes and habits of those you aspire to network with, legions of others will strive to network with you – giving you much more in the end.
Frank Agin is the founder and president of AmSpirit Business Connections. In addition, Frank is the author of Foundational Networking: Building Know, Like and Trust To Create A Lifetime of Extraordinary Success and the co-author of LinkedWorking: Generating Success on the World’s Largest Professional Networking Website and The Champion: Finding the Most Valuable Person in Your Network.