Networking is an intricate part of business and our lives. It’s become so embedded in our brains that it’s hard to go somewhere and not network. While the constant drive is great, it’s important to realize that even the greatest networker understands that if not done properly, your efforts can be perceived as too salesly.
To start, networking should be mutually beneficial. It’s not just handing out your business cards in hopes of someone reaching out to you. Ask yourself this, why should somebody do something for you if you didn’t help him or her in the first place? Sure there are a handful of people that are just that nice, but the majority of people you meet are doing whatever they can to make it, too. You should spend 80% of your efforts giving and helping the other person accomplish one of their goals.
It can be traced back to the age-old adage of “treat others how you want to be treated.” If you don’t want somebody only promoting themselves and their services to you, be mindful not to do it them. The next time someone hands you their business card, don’t hesitate to ask them about their business goals. See what they’re trying to gain from connecting with you, and determine how you can help. Once you’ve helped them, they’ll feel more inclined to reciprocate the favor—potentially creating a lifelong relationship that is mutually beneficial for both of you.
It’s safe to assume that networking will forever be a part of business. However, taking the time to revaluate your approach will be helpful for both you and whomever you come in contact with in the future.