To Really Work, Networking Must be Win-Win

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As CEOs and business owners, some of your most valuable capital lies in your ability to establish key relationships with others in the business community.

These relationships aren’t solely (or even primarily) cultivated for the purpose of advancing yourself and your business. People who are great at networking see how they bring value to others, while also getting benefit from the relationship themselves. But no one will stay connected with you for long if they feel you’re using them just to get ahead.

Establish trust

Trust is the single most important element in all networking opportunities. People like to do business with people they know and trust. But establishing trust in a relationship takes time and effort, often a daunting proposition for a business leader hard-pressed for time. Nonetheless, I believe it’s worth it.

When was the last time you looked through your contact list? Probably, you haven’t been in touch with many of these individuals for awhile. Take the opportunity to review this list, select those whom you believe to have value to you (and for whom you can provide value as well). Try getting back in touch with these men and women. Find out how you can provide value to them.

Access and top-of-mind

Good networking also grows out of access. You have to be prepared to be visible and accessible at business conferences, trade-shows and other places where you can see and be seen. Consider joining a charitable organization that interests you and to which you can genuinely contribute. Membership may not bring you any business, but you will nevertheless cultivate relationships that can benefit you or your clients at some point in the future.

It’s all part of staying “top of mind” with the people most important to you. Networking for networking’s sake won’t cut it. The goal is developing win-win relationships with as many people in your network as possible. Helping others, I believe, ultimately comes back to you at some level.

Building relationships with your CEO and business leader peers is a key benefit of membership in Catapult Groups.  You’ll never find better insights and solutions to your most pressing problems than by being part of a high-performing Catapult Group.

Brad Mishlove