336Events Magazine Articles

Networking 110 – Becoming Trusted and Respected

When Networking, work to build trust and respect before you try to sell.

Here is the 10th Article I wrote for

by Teddy Burriss Social Networking Pro

“Being trusted and respected is important to create real success in life, including business, career and community.”

Let me tell you why I believe this.

I have proven time and again that when the people in your life trust and respect you, they are far more open and forthcoming with information. You can use this information to help them as well as to help yourself, as long as you don’t misuse it.

Here is a story that proves this is true:

When Betty and I first met at a networking event I asked her lots of questions about herself and the work she does. I listened to what she shared with me and continued asking her questions. In less than ten minutes I knew a lot more about Betty than she likely intended to share. She asked me questions as well and I shared stories about myself with her. We never really talked business. Eventually we agreed to meet later to continue our conversation and to talk business. After exchanging contact information we went our separate ways.

Within a week we meet at a local coffee shop.

Our conversations picked back up where we left off, about family, friends, our communities and a little business. We were very comfortable with our conversations and it was apparent that trust and respect was building.

I knew it was important to move into more conversations about business. Remember article #109 – Network Deliberately with Focus, otherwise we will never achieve our goals.

I guided Betty into more focused business conversations. The level of trust and respect that Betty had for me is a key factor in the smooth transition from personal to business topics.

I was able to ask deep and blunt questions about her business. I discover lots of information about the projects, tasks, issues, problems and even fears Betty had.

I offered a few recommendations of my trusted and respected connections to Betty. These resourced would be able to help her with the business issues that I could not. She was very grateful for the introductions I made for her.

We agreed to meet again in a few weeks to talk about her other issues.

Because we had first spent enough time building trust and respect, when we met the third time Betty agreed that I would help her with the projects that my business focuses on.

We did not discuss pricing, Betty simply agreed to my rate. Betty did not ask for a proposal, I sent her an agreement that she signed and returned with no questions. She did not ask for references, she took my word at face value.

Why – because I invested in Betty up front. I focused on building trust and respect and I did not ponce on her to sell my stuff.

Try building trust and respect when you are networking.

2 replies on “Networking 110 – Becoming Trusted and Respected”

Great article Teddy,

I particularly agree with your observation that being trusted and respected is the key to creating real success in life, including business, career and community.
The importance of networking can’t be over estimated, particularly in todays age of information overload, where your connections can help focus your attention on the intelligence that’s actionable and relevant.

In The Start Up of You, Linkedin co-founder Reid Hoffman develops this idea, stating

“People offer personalized, contextualized advice. Friends and acquaintances know your interests and can tailor their information and advice accordingly…People can filter information you get from other sources. People can tell you which books to read; which search results to ignore; which people to trust or not trust.”

A important element in thinking about in networking is how we can best provide these insights.

People tend primarily to seek out others who do what they do and see the world as they do, decreasing the odds of developing truly innovative insights outside of their narrow domain of expertise. On the other hand, the most successful networkers are those who are look to connect people across different groups.

This concept was first observed by the sociologist Mark Granovetter who identified the importance of “weak ties”. In terms of career development, Granovetter demonstrated that our most valuable connections are often those we may not know very well but who are to provide a bridge to new opportunities outside of our normal social groups.

When looking at networking therefore we should not rely on contacts to whom we are close, hoping that they in turn will know somebody who knows somebody who will want what we have to offer. Nor should we simply try to make as many new contacts as possible in the hope that one in a hundred will pay off. Instead we are looking to bridge these gaps in networks, areas in which we are clearly qualified to add value.

Would love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks for the comment Rusden. I agree – networking should include people who are not like us in any way. This is what creates new, even never imagined, ideas and opportunities.

Back in 1999, if I had only focused on networking with people like me I would still be an IT professional. Meeting new and different people took me into Organizational development and then into being a Social Media consultant, public speaker and writer. I found my true passion by “hanging out” with people completely different than who I thought I was. For this reason I often tell people to find “Freaks” (unusual & unexpected people) and hang out with them. It can positively change your life.

Thanks Rusden.

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