So, who have you helped today? I’m not talking about paying for the Starbucks of the person behind you in the drive through. It’s not about volunteering at a food bank or donating to the Salvation Army. And although these efforts are thoughtful and commendable this post is about business networking. Wait-what? What the heck does helping someone have to do with business networking? I’ll tell you.

Who have you helped at work today?

I’m going to suggest a networking strategy that for some of you will seem counter-intuitive. I want you to try this for one month, approximately 25 working days. Help someone every day for the sake of helping. Don’t share an elevator pitch, discuss your needs, or ask for reciprocation — just help someone.

Help a Co-worker

When you take the time to get to know your teammates, understand their responsibilities, and comprehend their challenges you begin building a better team. Asking how you can be of assistance, and following through starts a process that will steamroll. Not everyone, but many will pay it forward, and some will pay it back to you.

Help a Customer

And not only with your product and service, but anywhere you can help them. For example, I’ve helped  customers with guest blogs, social media advice, and video — not asking for anything in return. But the return has come back to me tenfold. Because folks remember who helped them.

Help a Vendor

Have you been part of a business and vendor relationship that became contentious? It happens much too often. Rather than combat each other over product, service, delivery, or price wouldn’t it make more sense to work together, to team up? Online retailer Zappos is a great example of this. Zappos made all its internal product and sales information available to vendors. Zappos Makes Nice with Vendors. Contrary to popular opinion this didn’t pit vendor against vendor but added 50+ members to the marketing team. The vendors used the information to improve merchandising.

There you have it. Help once-a-day for the next 25 days without asking for anything in return. Help a teammate get their work completed. Find a new client for a customer. Help a vendor by sharing information. Look for someone to help every day. What have you got to lose, a little time? And let’s say I’m wrong, and your teammates, customers, and vendors don’t care if you help, you’ll feel good about what you’ve done. Now go help somebody.

How Can I Help You?

I’d always considered myself an effective networker. I’m friendly, easy to talk to, and I’ve never met a stranger. However, none of that makes me a good networker – it makes me outgoing. If I wanted to be the most effective networker I could be, I needed a plan. That’s how my networking workbook, Help Networking started.

I like to help people and organizations, but I have three criteria I consider before taking an assignment – I believe in what the organization stands for, I know I can help, and it looks like fun. If you have any questions, Contact Me. 

Does your business have a  management training plan? Many organizations, large and small, use my book, The New Manager’s Workbook a crash course in effective management, as the basis for their leadership development program. Check it out.

Photo by Rémi Walle on Unsplash