The Simple Rule to Make Networking Pay Off

The art of givingThe best networking communities have a sense of wealth and generosity. By offering something of value to our colleagues we foster a culture of giving that makes our whole business environment richer and richer.

At a recent networking gathering I attended in Halifax, hosted by a local magazine, I was offered an invitation to speak about leadership to a local business group. I hadn’t asked for it, someone just offered. I went to the event with a colleague, and he was offered an invitation to be introduced at a prestigious private club. He hadn’t asked for it either. Someone just said, “That’s where you’ll find the people you should be talking to.”

One young man at the gathering had an opposite approach. He came up to me and a woman I was talking with and interrupted us to give us his card, saying a version of, “If you’re looking for the kind of services I offer, I’m the man. Be sure to call me.” Then with a nod he walked off to do the same with the other people in the room.

His approach may seem like confidence, putting himself out there and asserting his worth. But it felt more like poverty. He had nothing to give, and only wanted us to give him business. He seemed small.

In contrast, the woman who offered to introduce me to a speaking opportunity felt like a leader in her field. If I need help with the kind of services she provides I’ll call her, not her competition, because I’ve already experienced how helpful she can be.

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” (Winston Churchill)

I’d go a step further. A good living and a good life aren’t two separate things. Business ethics are community ethics, and generosity is a best practice in either one.

For more on generosity as a business practice, click here.


  1. Thank you Crane – generousity through networking is SO true! At this point in my career I take a greater pleasure in facilitating and supporting connections for the growth of others, rather than for myself. Doing this with no expectations of benefit has increased my self-awareness and sense of humble and generous work with others.
    Thanks again!

Leave a Reply