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It’s Called “Networking” Not “Using”

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Daily. Seriously, every single day, I receive a message like the following:

“Hi Paul, I’m working on an incredible new project. Can you introduce me to Oprah so I can pitch it to her for funding?”

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I wonder do they really expect my reply to be:

“Sure, let me fire-off an email immediately to her and make an introduction.”

Let’s get serious folks!

The biggest problem people have with networking is going in for the “ask” too soon. If your networking strategy is simply about getting what you want, that’s called “using” not “networking”.

Keep in mind the #1 rule of influence is reciprocity. Doing many somethings for the person you’re building with before you make your ask will dramatically increase your ask getting answered.

The most successful relationships I have built are with people I do more for than they do for me. I give, give, give, give, give, then ask.

Sure, networking is about getting what you want but it’s also about making sure the people who are important to you get what they want, too.

 

Posted on: Jun 11, 2013

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178 comments
Carla Harris
Carla Harris

I don't know why someone would ask something of someone they don't know. Having a connection with someone on a social platform is not knowing someone. My thought about networking in my many years in business has been "givers get"...When you give first, it's easier for others to want to give to you. Platforms like this make it challenging to get to know someone. Paul, we met sometime ago thru a mutual friend and I would love to grab a coffee and chat...that's the beginning of building a networking relationship. Have a great day folks!

Rachel Jerozal
Rachel Jerozal

Hey Paul, I'm a big fan of Oprah. Introduce us? Lol. ;)

Melissa Severe
Melissa Severe

I rarely make asks but I always try my best to be available and helpful. That has been extremely rewarding funny enough. Its to the point I don't have to make asks things just happen naturally.

Ermila Carlin
Ermila Carlin

Yes, AMEN. 2 Corinthians 9:6-7.....,,The Lord loves a cheerful giver.....Waaay too many take take takers....I have long been inspired by this concept of reciprocity. For instance when a hummingbird feeds from a flower, it deposits new seed via it's beak....thereby cross-pollinating....(PAUL-INATING) You operate in the wonderful dynamic. ...beautifying the world.....transforming the world Paul\U0001f604

Actress Shakira
Actress Shakira

I don't see anything wrong with asking. People that need help are not in the same circle. Otherwise the rich get richer and everyone else just stays where they are unless they do it by themselves. I'll understand when I get there.

Venus Vanessa Heard Mosley
Venus Vanessa Heard Mosley

I've got a story of abuse & survival for 34 years for her that she will not believe. It seems to be getting a lot of attention

Chauntele Holley
Chauntele Holley

for real! I said AMEN when you said that at the ALAS conference! ;)

Actress Shakira
Actress Shakira

Introduce me to Oprah so I can pitch her for funding lol thank you

RuDee Sade
RuDee Sade

Dear Paul, Every time you post this the number one thing that comes to my mind...is that Oprah's hair is laid like woah in this photo. I'm glad this one stays in rotation.

Pamela Harris-orr
Pamela Harris-orr

Every turning moment I find myself with appreciation , for people. like Oprah; whom share her works with world,I would love to continue my studies as a paralegal; she have obtain the force to support in giving ; Thank you for helping look forward to a better future! While others have tryed to defeat you , you keep striving which is beautiful to me!

Marsha Denise Willis-Howard
Marsha Denise Willis-Howard

This is on point. Folk will expect you to put your name and reputation on the line for something they don't even put much effort in.

Alicia Lambert
Alicia Lambert

I was taught years ago that networking is about what I can do for others. This mindset had given me so many opportunities that I otherwise would not of had.

Annie Nicely
Annie Nicely

Angels here on eart will always be called on in times of needs. Thanks Oprah and have a Happy New Years!

PaulTomlinson
PaulTomlinson

AMEN. So let it be written, so let it be done. Frankly those who don't like this post you have 2 options- you can agree and change or disagree and leave. Its simply a case of who the cap fits!

Glen McDaniel
Glen McDaniel

True words Paul. Folks asking without having skin in the game is almost an epidemic it seems. Another related issue is thinking because you know me my skills are not valuable. I am a writer, so I am constantly asked to write resumes, college admission essays, letters to creditors, critique blogs etc etc. I freely do that generally, but there are some repeat requests (with short deadlines) where I am expected to inconvenience myself to use my skills to do you a favor. Why? Happy New Year to you and family, Paul.

Frema Brenyah
Frema Brenyah

I can't believe people send you emails like this! isn't this common manners?!

Amy Tisdale Tetrault
Amy Tisdale Tetrault

Open the front cover and read" all things being equal, people want to do business with their friends".

Donna Wells
Donna Wells

I concur, when God gave me the innovative idea for my non-profit organization (Adam-21 Re-empowerment), the first thing they teach you in writing a "grant proposal" don't beg...if it truly came from God the funding will come....

Annette Fisher
Annette Fisher

Thank you Paul for giving your gift of time and always sharing thought provoking articles throughout the year. #thankful4u #keepthemcoming

LaQuetta Ward
LaQuetta Ward

I understand your frustration people don't know how to go after what they want in the right way anymore or they just expect to get a hook up but as an aspiring writer I understand their desire myself I never directly ask anyone to help me I just show what I have or see if they need my assistance in any way. It's about building relationships.

Natosha Mrsquestionoftheday Warner
Natosha Mrsquestionoftheday Warner

Oprah or no other big named person owes you a thing. You can't want the opportunity and then want me to work it for you too. I need to teach a class on the art of networking. I NEEDED the valuable information from a woman who started her own business and became successful in such an endeavor. I have offered her to be a guest on my radio show AND I purchased her items. A small payback for her taking the time to mentor me and give me some of her contacts. Iron sharpens iron.

Natosha Mrsquestionoftheday Warner
Natosha Mrsquestionoftheday Warner

I swear I just said this today! Folks don't understand Karma either. You get back what you give. Finally, if I ask you for something, you can best believe I have already supported you many times over before I dare to ask you for anything. When will they learn?????

Zach
Zach

Paul,

If you're reading this, I need a favor. Nothing big, just maybe a 45 minute meeting with Oprah.

Thanks, man!

mlifeblog
mlifeblog

When I read the email my head was like really, being someone new in business I can say Paul is very helpful. It's about building RELATIONSHIPS, never would I ever reach out to someone and ask hey can you put me in touch with so and so. Paul had to put in effort and work to work with Oprah or anyone (respect it).Allow things to happen organically and work your butt off.

-Miesha A.

Leslie J. Griffin
Leslie J. Griffin

This article is theeeeee entire truth. You have to show up and add value----and repeat-----with meaning. Thanks for sharing this.

Anthony Henderson
Anthony Henderson

It was indeed an unreasonable request, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but I also get where Paul is coming from.

Jacole Thomas Dykes
Jacole Thomas Dykes

Well maybe they figured they had a 50/50 chance so they went for it...I guess you could look at the bright side and say hey, I'm seen as influential & my marketing/branding skills are working. I do like your point, networking is not using! Oh by the way, you & Oprah should check out my website www. ( just kidding)...

Addie M. Smith
Addie M. Smith

IMO..Mr.Brunson, you sound ungrateful! Wow, a dreamer came to you FIRST..... WHY?!? Click an read................reciprocity

Kate Haddaway
Kate Haddaway

I'm assuming with Paul's attitude that be never cold called anyone and everyone that helped him get where he is was a good friend of his. Yeah RIGHT !!!!

Angie YayaDivine
Angie YayaDivine

It is unfortunate that the person sees Oprah as their only way to success....they can be successful without Oprah EVER knowing about them, further its presumptuous for people to think that Paul and Oprah are even close enough for him to send her such requests.....ultimately it is about etiquette and what are YOU WILLING TO DO TO GET YOUR OWN endorsement and product recognized.....seriously asking somehow how to do something speaks more about one's dedication than asking someone to just DO this for me....really, I would not be interested in that book either..........

Christiana Adiatu Thompson
Christiana Adiatu Thompson

Not why wouldn't he help, moreso why put the person on blast? The approach could have been different. But I mean hey we are all different. He is shining a light that is so bright and when ppl see that they draw to you and respect you and want that LiGHT that you're shining. How do you know that this persons plan wasn't to build an empire and in turn help ppl from that empire? How do you know that this person isn't going to be the next SOMEBODY that will be able to reach back and help the person that got them there & give back to his/her community by rebuilding it economically and socially? Big changes come from ppl who have nothing but have the audacity to DREAM and reach up toward those dreams even if it means asking the simple question "will you help me?" "Will you help me get to the point where I could help you?" ❤️❤️ All it takes is a simple perspective shift and a yes or no :-)

Camille Ford
Camille Ford

I'm saving 5k to advertise in New York Times Magazine. I've already invested and lost 70k on liars who claimed to be managers and set my expectations that they would be the driving force of my success. All they did was take my money and pay their personal bills while lying their entire relationships with me. Join organizations, connect with like-minded entrepreneurs, and book vendor spaces at local events until you get recognized. There are other things to do. For example, I've started a nonprofit organization and have a board for this organization and forming a board for my publishing business. Get educated. Get educated. Get educated. Don't be discouraged. And don't expect anyone to help you. You just have to continue to fail your way to success and get connected with those who want to see you succeed. I was bitter. But now I'm just wiser and doing what I have to do to get where God INTENDS for me to be. You'll be alright.