Principle #4 Give to Receive Value

In order for us to establish relationships of trust with our peers we really have to give them something that they need or value. In some rare cases the product or service you provide may actually be “the thing” someone needs however this will likely be an exception, not the rule. In most cases people just need a little bit of your time, a recommendation, advice, a referral, or direction. These are all things that each of us can provide however we have to figure out what the need is first.

The best way to figure out what someone needs is by asking them open ended questions. When you ask a question that requires more than just a “yes” or “no” answer you create a dialogue that allows the other person to express more about who they are both professionally as well as individually. As you listen pay attention to things that they say that you might be able to help them with and maybe write it down so you can discuss the item further.

In addition to giving it is equally important that we also receive help from others as well. We really need balance in networking in order to be most effective in relationship development and if we focus too much on ourselves, or on the “take” as it were, we can alienate others instead of bringing them closer.

If you will apply the “give and take “ approach to networking you will not only create strong relationships, you will also generate more opportunities in your professional life as well. More often than not people will choose to work with someone they know and trust, even if the service or product is slightly more than the competition, simply because there is a connection there. The more connections you make, the greater the chance for success so get out there and give a little. You never know how much you will get back in return.