Today I read a post by a leader of one of my LinkedIn groups. It struck a chord. He was asking the group to spread the word about his business, listing the ways we can promote his business. What was missing? How does promoting his business add any benefit to my clients or me? In fact, this contact is a serial self-promoter and perennial asker of favors. That’s a big turn-off! Before I throw a stone, I’d better check the windows on my glass house. I noted five specific ways that I can be a better networking giver. It is far better to be recognized as a sincere person and an excellent resource than simply a serial self-promoter.
Make Yourself Available
Being available to colleagues who need a sounding board is a great way to strengthen a relationship. Most people are too busy or choose not to make the time for a quick coffee meeting. Set yourself apart by making time for those in your network. Even if this means you set aside time to speak via phone, look for ways to help others.
Teach Free Webinars or Workshops
What is your area of expertise? Deliver a short presentation online or in the real world. A free webinar or workshop on a hot topic would be valuable to your network and also to those you may want to add to your network.
Host a Professional Meet-Up
Nobody wants to be the one to send the invitations, arrange logistics, and track respondents. However, if nobody is willing to take the time, that meet-up won’t happen. You will have a group of grateful people if you step up to arrange that monthly gathering. Additionally, you will have created a regular networking forum on which you can depend.
Introduce Your Connections
Matchmaking is a great way to support your network. If you know two like-minded people who can benefit each other in different ways, introduce them. That is what networking is all about. Next time they identify someone who may be of interest to you; it is very likely they will return the favor. Isn’t this the premise of LinkedIn?
Share Articles & Leads
This is probably the easiest way to give. If you read a study on a topic that is relevant to your colleagues, share it. The worst that can happen is they will delete it. A periodic article or lead is great. Flooding your connections with weekly news is too much.
The Bottom Line
If you are a “type A” person who is spending every waking hour building your empire, it becomes natural to focus on your needs. How can I get others on board with “team me” to meet my goal? Starting with an “ask” or asking for a favor too soon can damage relationships. Adopting a philosophy of sharing what you have to offer helps to strengthen your network. When the time is right, and you need something, you will find that you have loyal individuals in your network ready to give back to you.