Most everyone knows how important networking can be when it comes to finding a new job. If we have a wide range of contacts, people that we have already established at least a basic relationship with, it can go far in assisting to locate and secure that much needed position. However, there is a balance that everyone needs to maintain when it comes to networking.
Good networking is accomplished by a professional and friendly relationship between anyone from family members, work associates, other professionals you have done business with, and just casual friends of friends or social associates. You should always look at networking as a give and take situation, and not just a one-way street for you. Always offer your services to others first, before jumping in and asking favors. Make yourself useful to them in an effort to establish a relationship that is not just about you being needy. Maybe you cannot really do much for the other person, but make sure you have seriously given it your best try to do so. Remember, do not just limit and focus on those people that you think can do the most good for you, but branch out a bit; because you never know who might know someone else of benefit to you. Keep the focus of networking aimed at helping others first, and watch the relationship blossom in your time of need.
Bad networking is a one sided, self-centered attitude of seeking to use others for your gain. It is to abuse the “system” and seeks only what you can get from it, with no real concern for others. It crosses the line of the relationship, and it often becomes an imposition on others. You should always know and practice good networking principles, for to not do so could lead eventually to you being rejected in social and business relationships.
Ugly networking is when you go the extra step of abusing your networking line by using them to sell (and oversell) your products. Now, of course if you are in a sales related field, and have an established networking “down line” already built that is open to the possibility of being sold to, then that is probably fine; but in general, do not look at those in your network circle as a group for you to “hit up” when trying to sell your products. It is one thing to simply make it known that you have a product, but if you start to hound them, or slam their email box with many ads for your products, in can be construed as getting to the point of abuse. Keep things professional, and respect your networking circle, otherwise you may become that irritating buzz that they cannot get rid of and would never seek to help when the time arrives. Stop and put yourself in their shoes and decide how you might honestly feel if you were faced with your own actions.
The important thing it to keep your networking balanced. Positive networking guidelines can go far in building quality relationships that can lead to beneficial connections. Seek to be a helper and not just always the one needing help. Use your talents and skills to assist others as often as possible, and do all things with integrity and honesty. These are some of the things to keep in mind when working within your networking circle.