The Most Important Networking Rule

How you look at networking, your perspective on it, will determine your success! For years I was looking into networking with a “what can I get” mentality. The results were dreadful. Eventually I realized my mistake. I was breaking the most important networking rule. Networking isn’t about how and what you can get from others. It is about creating relationships. To do that, we need a “give” mentality!

Always ask, “What can I do for this Person?”

Networking is a pro-active approach for creating relationships. This means you have to start first. You have to take the first step and give first. If you want people to open up to you, open up first. If you want them to be friends with you, be their friend first. If you want to get something, give something first. Don’t keep score! Networking isn’t one hand washes the other hand! A relationship is ideally like a muscle. It grows every time you use it. Try to create a, “How can we help each other” dynamic. Win-Win is the goal!

“My best friend is the man who in wishing me well wishes it for my sake.” – Aristotle

What can you give

What you should give depends on the other person. As you know, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. You need to find out what bears the most value for the other person. This doesn’t need to be something material or big. Sometimes it is just a friendly ear. I look how I can improve somebodies financial situation, health or mood. If you can help the persons loved ones, it will deepen your connection immense.

Your relationship with your work follows the same principle. You give something first and get something in return. You give your manpower, knowledge, experience and receive money, respect and status. Sometimes you give more, other times less. The same goes for getting.

“The currency of real networking is not greed but generosity.” – Keith Ferrazzi

At the end of the last year I got a new colleague at work. He was fresh from the university. Somebody needed work him in. I volunteered. The first two weeks I helped him to get started in the project. Now we are more than colleagues. We became friends. I help him and he helps me. Often times we pair on our tasks. We also spend some free time together. Helping him created a great foundation for our friendship.

A good friend of mine moved a couple of times over the last two years. Every time she asked me to help and I did. It is hard to find reliable friends willing to help. It meant a lot to her. Especially that I was on schedule. Later, when I was searching a new flat she asked me, how she could help me. I accept her offer gladly. She gave me tips and also helped me with the paper stuff. It was very helpful. Without her I wouldn’t have found my current flat.

As a foreigner in Europe I try to help my fellow-countryman. There are many young, well educated compatriots without a perspective looking for a better life. Fortunately all western countries have a manpower shortage in certain sectors. In Germany it is the health care sector. The people are getting older and less young people want to be nurses and care workers. Therefore, it is legally possible to find schooling and afterwards to stay. On two occasions I helped to get the schooling. I assisted with the applications. Both times it was a great success. Both guys got the positions and stayed in Germany. Years later we are still friends. Every time they visit their mother countries they bring me small presents. They also helped me many times.

The point is, if you help somebody, great things will happen. The foundation of your networking should be a give mentality!

To sum up:

The Most Important Networking Rule

Always ask, “What can I do for this Person?”

Call on Action:

  • Make giving the foundation of your networking!

  • Help 3 friends, with their problems without asking for something in return!

Deo volente,

Gaius Wolf



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