There are many business lessons we can learn from the holiday season. The most important lessons I am reminded of is to focus on Giving. I was recently giving a guest lecture at Brigham Young University-Idaho and made the assertion that “my Network is my most valuable Asset”. I truly believe this. I have been blessed to be associated with many amazing people. The students followed up with the question, “How do you build your network?”. This is a great question for all of us, especially young people who are just beginning to build their professional network. I think the key to building a valuable network is to Give First and to Give More.
Building a valuable network is more about quality than quantity. Your network is not valuable unless it is actionable. Will you answer the call of the people in your network? Will you spend time to help them? Would you recommend them for jobs and opportunities? Will you help them in their times of need? Will they do the same for you? For you to answer yes to any or all of these questions you need to build trust. Building trust takes time and action. In a new relationship it is hard to build trust because both sides are often looking for the other side to provide them with some value first. It could be a connection to a potential client, introduction to investors, advice, a job, etc. Usually relationships don’t progress to the level of trust because both sides are waiting for the other side to make the first move. This is why I believe the key to building a great network is to Give First and to Give More.
When we are willing to Give First others know immediately that we aren’t just leeches in the network looking to suck as much value out of the relationships as we can. When we look to consistently Give More others are usually willing to give and help us when we are in need. Giving of time, talents, advice, capital, relationships, etc unlocks the door of trust. When we are early in our career or new in a relationship the giving can be simple and low risk. It can be as simple as sending an article or link that we think would be interesting to the other person or offering advice. We just need to give something.
I believe that the best way to build a valuable network is to Give First, Give More. Happy Holidays.