If you ask any successful professional how they have achieved the standing they have earned in their chosen career, I would be very surprised if “networking” wasn’t one of the first words to come out of their mouths. With rare exception, we do not advance in our fields without cultivating relationships. If someone knows and respects you and believes your work is of value, you will be remembered favorably when opportunities arise. A great way to approach the art of networking is to think about what you can give instead of anticipating what you will be able to receive. Really be honest with yourself and make sure you are giving for the right reason. I, for one, am firmly committed to giving back as first, the right thing to do and second, as a tool for increasing your networking effectiveness.
Over on his Personal Branding blog, Dan Schawbel posted an article by networking expert Frank Agin entitled “The Seeds of Altruism.” In this writing, Mr. Agin urges us to embrace the idea that “Givers Get” because it is simply the right thing to do. We should look for ways to offer acts of kindness to others and make life better for the people around us and the communities in which we live. Agin suggests that acts as easy as holding the door for someone or parking a little further from the entrance to a store so that someone with greater need can have one of those coveted spots helps to create the right mindset. Soon, being of service to others will naturally become ingrained in how you approach everything you do. It feels good to help others–embrace that!
Have you found that the more you give, the more you want to give? Being there to support others as they walk down their professional path will pay itself back to you in ways that you cannot even imagine! You will feel better inside and out, and that will make you a great person to be around whether you are walking into a networking event or watching your kid play ball.