Networking 101: Give First Without Expectation of Return

In a recent parenting class I learned 8 ways to bond. It is very important for parents to have a bond of trust with their kids. This is also very important in business networking of the type I like to call Servant Leadership Netweaving.

My mentors in Servant Leadership Netweaving were very good at these 8 keys to bonding. Through these we were able to build a deep trust relationship.

  1. Express unconditional love
    Love in business relationships? What? Are you crazy? No! How do you build trust if you always hold the other side to quid quo pro? You don't. This is true in all human relationships. If you keep score, then you don't trust the other to be "fair" to you. Give up on fair. Fair was never
    promised. Think back to the one person you trust deeply. Is that a
    quid quo pro relationship?

  2. Schedule time
    Regular dates with your wife are just as important as regular time for 1on1s with your trusted advocates with whom you netweave.

  3. Focused Attention
    When you are with someone who is constantly answering their phone or tapping away on their blackberry, do you feel appreciated and do you feel loved? Not really. In fact, if you are honest, you feel used or ignored. Then why would we do this time and time again to our trusted netweaving

  4. Eye Contact
    This goes back to the blackberry or phone or computer too. You have to show interest in someone in order to be interesting. If your father only ever answered you with monotone generic replies from behind a newspaper or while watching sports or news or while using his computer, would you feel appreciated and
    would that be building trust? No. It wouldn't. Make the effort to
    make eye contact and take notes of important information when you
    are on 1on1s with your netweaving partners. It will pay dividends
    in your trust relationships.

  5. Ongoing Communication
    Regular 1on1s and emails and unexpected calls just to talk about the daily grind and the family are important. So are hand-written cards. Time spent in relationships is an investment.

  6. Meaningful personal communication
    Texting about the weather is beginner relationship skills. Asking how a meeting went just after it finished, and consistently following through on promises pays dividends gang.

  7. Having fun together
    All business and no play makes relationships one sided. Add good time to just hang out together and play.

  8. Praying together
    If your netweaving partner shares a tragic event in their lives, don't just let it end there. Don't just preach about things they know. Prove you care. Pray.

Building relationships takes effort. Network to find people you want to advocate for you and for whom you can advocate. Then build deep trust relationships and take it to the next level of netweaving. To do this, you must learn to give without expectation of anything in return.

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Comment by Hank Tate on April 6, 2009 at 12:24pm
I especially like the last point. It is not uncommon to hear "I'll pray for you" when people hear of a struggle. It makes me sad how rare it is that we don't stop right then and pray for the person sharing the need. As I have tried to learn to practice that I have been amazed at how many people have responded, "I've never had anyone pray for me before." No better way to show we really care that to take the time to pray .... right when the need is expressed.
Comment by Nate Stockard on April 6, 2009 at 12:11am
Good tips. Networking is hard for everyone to grasp. I struggled with the right ways to network and how to really be effective, and this list hits the nail on the head!
Comment by Kellie (Allen) Schneider on March 27, 2009 at 1:42pm
Good Thoughts and Good Advice. Thanks Eric...
Comment by Cyndi Gutowski on March 25, 2009 at 9:34am
Thank you Eric, for helping us understand the golden rules of networking on inHouston!


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