Ten Ways to Give to Your Network

Successful networkers follow this one important rule: GIVE.

To help you put that rule into action, here are ten ways you add value to the members of your network.

1.  Ask
The best way to learn how you can help members of your network is to ask them what they need. If you ask them directly, they are likely to tell you exactly what you can do to support them. Always listen to what they are saying; you’ll be able to discern their needs.

2.  Connect Them
One of the most valuable ways to give to your network is to connect various members for mutual benefit. Think about the members of your network and identify connections that would be valuable. Amazing things can happen.

3.  Share Articles
When you’re reading an article that you think would be of interest to a member of your network, take the time to tear it out and mail it to them with a quick note. Every time I’m on plane (which is almost every day!), I scour my collection of magazines. When I find something of value for a member of my network, I tear it out, pop it into an envelope and drop it in the postbox at the next airport.

4.  Invite
If you are attending a conference, networking meeting, training course or any other type of event, invite members of your network to attend with you. You will have an opportunity to deepen your relationship and they‘ll appreciate your thoughtfulness.

5.  Send a Link
When you are visiting a web site, think about the members of your network who could also benefit from it. Then send them a link. You likely visit dozens of web sites each day. Remember to think of your network. Referring sites of interest is a valuable service you can provide to your brand community.

6.  Give Them a Free Service
Take what you love to do and what you’re great at and offer some of it to your network. If you are an outstanding resume writer, offer your network members assistance with theirs. If you love to come up with creative names or titles, let your network members know. When you share your strengths, you’ll become known for them.

7.  Alert
When you learn about a cool new product that may be of interest to members of your network, take the opportunity to let them know about it. An when you learn about special discounts, offers and ‘free stuff,’ Groupons, etc. let the members of your network share in the savings, too.

8.  Include
Whether you’re writing an article and need a quote, giving a presentation, posting to your Blog, or sending a Tweet, ask your network members to contribute. And remember to credit them. This gives them an opportunity to increase their visibility with the members of your brand community – thereby expanding their network.

9.  Share Your Passion
Whenever I buy a book, CD or magazine, I always buy two of the same and give one to the member of my network I think will most appreciate it. Then I have someone I can discuss or critique it with. When you finish reading a book, think about the member of your network who would benefit most from reading it next.

10.  Acknowledge, Remember and Recognize
Make note of special days (birthdays, anniversaries, the days they start new jobs or get promoted) and acknowledge these important events. You can send a note, a card or an e-card. Or you can acknowledge them on Facebook, with a Tweet or on their Blog. Use online tools to make this easy! Plaxo.com sends you reminders of your network members’ birthdays. Americangreetings.com lets you store important dates and suggests greeting cards you can send.

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Comments

  1. These are wonderful tips for networking, and as a career practitioner (writing resumes, LinkedIn profiles etc), I know a lot of people struggle with this. They know it’s vital to career building and job hunting, but they hesitate to “impose.” Your ideas are no imposition, they are a wonderful and easy way to “Reach” out and begin. (Love the way the word “reach” fit in so nicely!)
    Thank you for sharing!

  2. This is a great post and I completely agree with you William! I have done most of these things and really works. People really appreciate when you share articles, events that may be of interest to them, small gifts, and much more. We are not saying go broke and give gifts to everyone. But, nowadays you can be creative and find cost-effective ways to give to your network. I have offered salsa classes, I have shared articles with my fellow Peace Corps volunteers and webminars or podcasts that I know they need or may be of interest to them. You can share a song you like using itunes or even your own phone. Love these things!

    Elisa

  3. Great advice. I coach all of my clients who are interviewing to always follow up their interview with an email to the manage. The email should reenforce their unique value to the organization, but should also include a great article attached that would benefit the manager. There are some great Harvard Business Review articles on such things as: motivating teams, improving team performance, and time management. By giving something of value, one demonstrates their value.

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