The One Question That Will Change How You Network
Networking. All throughout adulthood, you will hear about the importance of networking. It doesn’t matter if you are becoming an eye doctor or a cosmetologist — it’s often who you know rather than what you know that gets your foot in the door.
For the socially awkward and introverted, networking can feel like a nightmare. Introducing yourself to new people, trying to show the value in your skills or business, and building a good rapport simultaneously? I’d have a better shot at being an Olympian!
I read book after book, trying to unlock the secret to charming strangers into business relationships. The advice was often solid and helpful. But there’s one little question that can fundamentally change how you look at networking.
How can I help you?
We are naturally inclined to reciprocate the help given to us. It’s in our nature. They don’t even need to like you as a person. If you’ve given them something, they will feel the inclination to return the help.
That’s great, you may think. But I have nothing to give. This is not true! Here are a few ideas on how you can give help:
- Referrals. If the person is a business owner, he or she knows word of mouth is golden. If you are able to bring in new business, he or she will thank you.
- Sharing. Sharing is caring — and this is true with social media. Sharing LinkedIn, Facebook or other social media content can get your foot in the door.
- Opportunity. See an opportunity that would be perfect for the person you want to connect with? Send the information. Bonus points if you can put in a good word!
- Value. If you have expertise in something, lending that knowledge out is a great way to build your reputation while giving.
- Connection. Even if you don't think you are of help, knowing someone who could be often is enough. Plus, since you are connecting two people, that’s double the help!
The truth is that helping others is a great way to not only network but to improve your own well-being. Helping others can decrease your stress and bring you greater fulfillment — it may even lead to a longer life! So go on, and start giving!