Giving-Based Networking

Boost Your Networking Confidence: Focus on the Give

Networking. Just the word alone is enough to make many people cringe. And one of the main reasons is that people often feel that they are imposing on others and “using” people to get something from them.

But networking is really all about building relationships and—a definition that really resonates with me—meeting new "business friends" to help each other attain professional and often personal goals. Liz Lynch, the author of Smart Networking: Attract a Following In Person and Online, notes that a network is no more than “a support system of people you can turn to for whatever help you need—insight, advice, information, recommendations, and feedback—then networking is simply the process of building and maintaining that support system.”

Another point is to realize that you already have a network, and you’re likely already naturally sharing resources and support with your existing friends, former colleagues, new acquaintances, and family members. For successful business networking, you just need to purposely and strategically apply this to your professional life as well.

Feeling on equal footing with the person you’re networking with can go a long way toward making you feel more comfortable about the process. I’ve found that one of the best ways to do this is to remember that you're also an experienced professional with knowledge, talent, and resources to offer. Think of networking as a way to contribute, share, or provide useful information. Focus on what you can offer just as much, if not more than, what you’re looking to get.

“Most of us really do have plenty to give,” agree Ann Baber and Lynn Waymon, co-authors of Make Your Contacts Count: Networking Know-How for Business and Career Success, including ideas, expertise, phone numbers, and introductions to other people. “The possibilities are endless,” they note. They suggest using the acronym M-O-R-E to help you consider four different ways you can share/add value to new and existing business relationships. They include:

M: Methods: Are you knowledgeable or good at processes or systems that can help make life or work easier for your connections? Example: You know Skype inside and out and could share some tips on using it effectively.

O: Opportunities: Do you know of an upcoming meeting, event, or something soon to be available that might be of interest? Example: You could introduce your contact to your roommate who works at the company your contact is interested in learning about.

R: Resources: Do you know of any resources that might be of interest to this connection? Example: Your connection is into sustainability and you know of a great new website that focuses on green and clean energy-related topics.

E: Enthusiasms: What are your hobbies or what are you excited about that might be of interest to this connection? Example: You’re an avid runner who knows where to get the best running gear.

Baber and Waymon recommend using the MORE acronym to help you come up with two or three things to be prepared to share before attending an event or having a discussion with your connection.

“Having things to give makes it easy for you to go from just associating with people to interacting and exchanging with them,” note Baber and Waymon. Helpful exchanges go a long way in building that all-important trust factor—which is key to getting your connections to think of you and send opportunities your way.

So, what will you put on your “to give” list for your next networking event or conversation? The key to sharing the right resources is to do a little research on your connection before you meet or ask about and listen to what your contact desires and may need during your conversation. Expanding your definition of networking to include serving as a resource for others can truly up the comfort and the enjoyment factor and lead to big payoffs down the road.

Happy networking.

If you're interested in getting some personalized feedback on building your network, please feel free to contact Phaedra at to learn about her complimentary, no-obligation consultation.

Free Cheat Sheet & Checklist 

5 Secrets to a Powerful Executive Resume 
 Land Interviews for a Job You'll Love!

Position yourself as a top candidate
Showcase your unique value
Stand out from others in your field  

 Create a Winning Resume Today! 





Featured in 

Resumes for Dummies 2019