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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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159 comments
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.

Oge Diribe
Oge Diribe

But there's asking for help and then there's taking the wee wee. I don't think asking for help was the issue, its the fact that this person saw an opportunity and decided to push for everything they could get out of it. Granted they've got balls to be so blatant, but if you're gonna bulldozer your request to a stranger, and treat your request like a supermarket sweep where you grab all you can, you can't be surprised if you get their backs up.

Rasheida Adrianus
Rasheida Adrianus

Great share, but why include someone's request with the post? You could have just emailed them the link as well and just leave it like that. You appear to be very approachable and you often interact with your followers on Social Media, which I like and respect. That person might have felt the same, I do believe they asked a little too much, but posting this in public did not help them one bit. Now it looks like you do not take them serious at all. It's kind of humiliating when you share your dream with someone and they publicly make you realize, they're not in for it. I assume it's one of your followers so they must have read this post, don't you think? Again, I agree it's a little too much to ask, actually it's wayyy to much to ask, but I do think you could have handled it differently.

Dena Reid-Esquire
Dena Reid-Esquire

Sarah, I always day use me, that means I'm useful. But don't abuse me.

CeCe Falls
CeCe Falls

Paul, you know what you can do for me? Tell me how you felt about season 2 of House of Cards. ;)

CeCe Falls
CeCe Falls

This is a relevant discussion regardless of celebrity status. When you come at anyone, especially someone you don't know, with expectations of the hook up, you are tripping. Real networking, which is useful whatever your status, especially if you are trying to change it, involves real connecting. "What can you do for me" doesn't bode well to most people.

Sarah Dales
Sarah Dales

Young Guru said to me last year that we are meant to use each other but not abuse each other. In other words, reach out & connect with those who can help you move forward and do the same for those that you can help move forward, but don't expect people to do things for you and don't let people walk all over you. Help each other grow but don't abuse the kindness of that person or the connections made through that person helping you.

KimChi's Zen
KimChi's Zen

It is TOUGH out there. I have three books I started to write and put down b/c no matter how aggressive I was, even to so-called friends who were published, I got no where.

Ursula Harrington
Ursula Harrington

Wow!...lol. Just like that you are supposed to endorse someone you don't even know

Kari Creamer
Kari Creamer

The asker could have gone about it a better way. I to t ally agree in the pay it forward thing, but asking him to send it to Oprah? He's not a publisher for petes sake. Now if he asked him to read and give feedback, I think this whole situation could have gone better. But the writer just EXPECTED him to do it. Thats not a pay it forward deal....

Lena CandyGirl Vee
Lena CandyGirl Vee

I am just learning to network for business. I don't have a circle yet. I have joined twitter and often ask people to like my fb business page, but I don't believe in pushing people to do what they don't desire. At the same time when I do grow and become experienced in the business world, I won't hesitate to help another to certain extent. I can't go above and beyond with contacts when I don't know anybody yet.

Brooke Oden
Brooke Oden

I can understand where he's coming from because he CAN'T help every single person who asks him. However I can certainly understand where the asker was coming from. They have a dream just like he did. What if they don't know anyone to "network" with on an equal level without first "imposing" on someone they don't know. One of the people who they chose to inconvenience was a high profile author such as Paul Carrick Brunson. They probably figured it was worth a try and they don't really have anything to offer to make it mutually beneficial besides the hopeful success of their book. While I can imagine that strangers bombarding you with requests could be quite annoying, I think this rant would have been more appropriate to share with another celebrity who can relate to these circumstances. Most of his followers have not achieved his level of success and we're likely following him because we're looking for inspiration in our endeavors to better our circumstances. This means that we've likely been in the person's position who made these requests that he deems inappropriate. I am in need of a mentor and I want to ask this Lady whose page I'm following but I'm afraid she'll have the same reaction. I like Paul Carrick Brunson. I've purchased his products. But I think this post was inappropriate. Unless its purpose was to shame and deter his followers from ever making such requests. In that case, it's right on time.

GiGi Bradley
GiGi Bradley

What happens when he calls Oprah set up a meeting and he doesn't show up? Or he shows up and demands money from Oprah? People refer those who they know and you get to know people through networking. Ask for advice it's free. Ask how would you go about doing... Ask them for there time which has value...

Jeane Stewart
Jeane Stewart

If I was in a position where people sought my endorsement, I'd be humbled and give them tips on how to succeed. Like "ask for introductions from someone you know". Truth is, some people have small circles, so, perhaps clumsily, they reach out to those they don't know.

Vanessa McKenzie
Vanessa McKenzie

Sadly, unless you spoke to this person directly, your point is perhaps lost. It's unfortunate that people don't understand there is a reciprocity to networking, much like any other relationship. Perhaps you should be teaching a class on entrepreneurial etiquette. My 5% please!

Becca Griner
Becca Griner

Good for you making a stand! Walking in what you peach!