Networking, as most of you understand by now, for me is about building relationships. Relationships for me, is not just about finding out what people can do for me, but also about finding out what I can do for people.
Many people, for whatever reason, only start Networking when they are desperate for business – it’s like networking becomes a ‘last ditch effort’ to resurrect their struggling businesses. Going into a Networking meeting with that kind of attitude is already looking for trouble, as it is highly unlikely that business will be forthcoming at a Networking meeting. Let’s be honest here, no-body really wants to deal with someone who is desperate.
This brings me to the point, where I usually meet with someone on a one-on-one basis, to find out more about what it is that they do so that I can refer them to the right people. Sometimes this can turn out to be a ‘nightmare’ meeting, with me being almost ‘grilled’ for the names of people in my database. I am then often harassed afterwards for the details of the people that I will refer, with no regard or consideration for what my time constraints may be. To add insult to injury, these people also very seldom ask me how it is that they can be of assistance to me. A completely one sided type of arrangement, I am sure that you will agree.
What happened to ‘mutually’ beneficial or reciprocity or even plain good manners? What happened to treating people in the same manner and with the same respect that you would like to be treated?
I know that I for one, feel almost like I have been pillaged and often quite resentful when I am treated like this and what this means is that when I go about my business and add contacts to my data base, chances are that should I meet with someone who you possibly could do business with, I may be just that little bit more disinclined to send them to you.
So remember, don’t just ask what I can do for you – also think about what you could possibly do for me.