I Don’t Get It – ‘And’ Networking Relationships

Regular readers may recall that I’m a veteran networking practitioner and often speak and write about the topic. However, I willingly admit that many of my strategies and best practices dance to a different drummer.

That’s why I Don’t Get ‘And’ in networking relationships instead of ‘or’. Often, people suggest that networking is all about relationships and ‘meeting people that you can help and that can help you’. A rather simplistic approach, like taking turns in a car pool or picking up the bar tab.

Simple, yes, but less effective. That approach implies that the two concepts must go together and you can’t have one without the other. It’s as if the person is thinking “I need to help you now so you’ll help me later’ or “I need to help you now because you helped me before and I owe you one.’

Consider for a moment a more karma-like approach and ‘network with people you can help or who can help you’. The two parts are not connected. We help other people because they need and deserve the help. We ask for help because we need it, with no implied debt of obligation or strings attached. We can have meaningful networking relationships where we do all the ‘giving’ as well as where we do all the ‘getting’. Simple as that.

So, as you polish the tools in your Power Networking Tool Kit, consider shifting your focus from ‘and’ to ‘or’. I Do Get ‘Or’ networking relationships and you can too.