The 1 Networking Rule Most People Are Afraid to Follow

Real networking happens in backyards and exclusive dinners. Private meet-ups and friends getting together for drinks.

Real networking happens when a friend introduces you to a friend. And then that friend introduces you to a new group of people. And then in that new group of people, you make a new friend.

And on and on and on…

Most people won't approach networking this way because they lack patience.

They wear their desperation on their sleeves and approach networking in a way that reveals their true intentions -- Which is a turn-off. They don’t want to get to know you or learn about what it is you do, and they have no intention of really helping you. They want to pitch their business. They want is you to give them something.

This is a short-sighted approach to building a network.

The reason big networking events fail is that everyone who attends tends to operate from a similar script.

Meaningful conversations aren’t taking place — just two people with business cards in their hands, giving their pitches back and forth. What happens? Nothing happens.

People like to do business with people they like, trust, and people they know through shared connections.

The take away: Make friends, not connections.

When you’re building your network, look for the situations that are going to allow you to make real connections. Small settings do well. Friends of friends and e-mail introductions go a long way.

It might seem like a slower process, but what you end up with is a strong circle of people you trust — instead of a rolodex of people who don’t return your calls.