I’m lucky. I had the chance, early in my career, to witness the concept of “pay it forward” in action. My mentors demonstrated how to be a resource; how to be the person someone calls when they need to know where to buy tires. Since then, I have incorporated the lessons that I learned into my own networking. As I work with clients on their own networking, I’ve tried to teach them this philosophy, often called “netweaving.”
Last week, I read Amber Naslund’s blog post: Two Reasons Why “How Can I Help You?” Is The Wrong Question To Ask. This is the exact kind of advice that I follow and love to share with others. She is right on point. However, after reading it, I realized there is more to the story.
Here’s the thing. Amber and I, and many other successful networkers, understand this inherently. It’s a state of mind. It’s nearly fact that when you help others you help yourself. It might not be today. It might not be tomorrow. It might be five years from now. The magical part is this…you can’t help people with the expectation that you will get something in return. You do it because we are all in this together and working and building a network is how we support each other.
Amber is 100% correct when she says, “If you really are asking for something, just ask.” I do it all the time. I ask for referrals. I ask for advice. Sometimes I ask for favors. I feel comfortable and confident doing this because I have spent the last 16+ years nurturing my network. I’ve paid my dues when it comes to helping others and continue to do it every day. And people come to me on a daily basis for referrals, advice and favors and I happily try and help. It’s part of my DNA. And it pays off.
So the next time you go to a lunch with a new colleague, think about how you can help them. During your meeting spend time listening for clues as to how the two of you will grow together. And like Amber alluded to, don’t forget to ask for the order if that’s what you really need. It’s OK to need things.
How do you practice the art of netweaving and have you made it a mind set?