If you’re a student of networking, then you’ve likely heard the Golden Rule. If not, here goes: The Golden Rule of Networking says, “Give First, Get Second.” In a nutshell, those who are highly proficient at building relationships know that they need to do things for other people and then simply trust that good things will come back to them at some point in time.
From time to time, however, someone you’ve never done anything for does something for you. That’s okay. The Universe is not out of whack. It’s likely that all your prior “giving” efforts have made their way back to you. In essence, fate has simply shined on you. Graciously thank them for what they have done. Then make an effort to learn how you can add value to them. And finally make a mental note to keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities to serve them.
Simple math says if you subtract a larger number from a smaller one, you get a negative number. If you spend more money than you make, you go broke. Yet in networking, you give more than you expect to get and somehow that formula leads to prosperity. How can this be? Simple.
Much of what you give to others – referrals, information, and contacts – is not depleting you.
If you referred a job-hunting friend to an ace executive recruiter, what are you really out? Nothing, beyond a little time. To the two people you have connected, however, you have conveyed real value. And, in time, what will likely come back to you are things of significant value to you.
This is incredibly powerful stuff. The gist of this in networking terms is that what you give may not compare to what you get. It’s not an exchange of like-kind items. For this reason, networking arithmetic doesn’t follow conventional wisdom. So, you can’t go broke by giving to others.