What a concept! It is thought-provoking and it will inspire you. Choose someone in your network who needs help. Help them. Their only obligation is to “pay it forward” by helping at least one other person who must agree to help one other person, etc. In other words you don’t “pay it back” to the person who helped you, you extend to others the kind of help you have experienced, but in a way that helps them.
When you “pay it forward,” you deliver a “deliberate” act of kindness. Intentionality is key. Contribution is the result.
Hopefully you got involved in business networking because you want to help people and people want to help you. You meet someone new and once you find out what they do and what then need, you immediately think, “Oh, I know someone who sells Ricoh products, you should meet James Casey!” A great networker is on automatic. When they know someone else who can help, they help make the connection. Likewise, when you mention that you have a particular need, they mention several people you might consider and offer to connect you with them.
The most important thing to remember is that networking is all about building long-lasting relationships and adding value. The more you find ways to help others around you, the more opportunities will inevitably come your way.
Never be self-serving. It’s easy to sound that way sometimes. Create buzz by (1) introducing yourself to someone without sounding like you’re selling something and (2) you have to somehow get them to feel compelled to mention you to others. It’s really more important to focus on helping others first. Always be sincere with your help.
Interview the person for your blog, Website or podcast. If they have written an article recently, offer to review it and post it as something from a guest author. By reaching out in this way, the other person will actually look forward to learning more about you and your business. If they enjoy talking with you, trust you and like who you are, they may take the time to mention you to people in their network.
Remember, people are more than willing to help you if you help them. Most entrepreneurs are acutely aware of the value of networking, and the successful ones understand that networking is all about helping others.
Pay your leads forward. When you support others in their success whether that takes the form of you providing valued connections for them, or using their service or product, you create the opportunity for reciprocity. They have an unspoken obligation and most will reciprocate.
Paying it back is okay too, but in networking it doesn’t always happen that way. Sometimes there is simply nothing you can do to “pay it back.” However, you should be forever watchful for those opportunities.
Networking is. . . using your creative talents to help others achieve their goals as you cultivate a network of people strategically positioned to support you in your goals. . . expecting nothing in return! – Larry James
Recently I was told by one of my wedding vendors that she had booked a wedding because her contact information was on my Website links page. About a week later, I received a written “thank you” with a $50 bill enclosed. The next time I saw her, I shook her hand with the $50 bill in my hand and said, “I am grateful for the gratuity, however I do not accept money for business leads.” She understood and was a little surprised that I would give the $50 bill back to her. However, within 30 days, she had the opportunity to return the lead by referring a couple to me who were getting married and I booked the wedding.
Read my review of the movie, “Pay it Forward.” If you haven’t seen the movie you owe it to yourself to see it. Available at most DVD & Video Stores.
Copyright © 2010 – Larry James. Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. His latest book is, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Visit ” Networking HQ!”
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