The most effective networking relationships are reciprocal. Both individuals gain substantial benefits from the relationship. Unfortunately, some professionals view networking from one of two extremes, either they cynically ignore the effort, or they pursue their goal with Machiavellian tactics.
But what of the majority of us that fall between the extremes? We show up for the dance, but spend a fair amount of time observing from the sidelines. Of course there is nothing wrong with some observation. After all, we don’t feel compelled to be on the floor for every single song. You may even discover that some of your connections do not actually care for the same music as you do. What then? In most cases I let those connections linger. Who knows, perhaps circumstances will change and we’ll find a common beat in the future. But have you ever taken the step to remove a connection? I know, in today’s politically charged world it feels like unfriending, unfollowing or unlinking would be a dangerous move. It doesn’t happen often, but on occasion I have removed connections. I remove connections based on the following formula:
In short, I just don’t feel a high enough degree of trust to keep moving forward with the relationship. So, how could a person grow my trust?
I know it looks like some type of Pythagorean Theorem, but it’s not. For me, the key to creating a large trust number is to build rapport, build credibility, and reduce risk. If all three factors can be shifted in the right direction my trust is bound to grow. Let’s take a high-level look at each.
Rapport: A relation of harmony, conformity, accord, or affinity. We have a sense of shared understanding.
· Being contacted appropriately by the method that best suits the nature of our relationship.
· Being treated with respect.
· I actually like you.
Credibility: You are worthy of belief or confidence. Your actions and words are in congruence.
· Being offered services or products that are truly relevant to my desires.
· You are transparent in how you deal with me.
· You clearly answer my “What’s in it for me” question.
Risk: Exposure to the chance of injury or loss; a hazard or dangerous chance. My safety, security and social capital (reputation) should not ever be at risk.
· What are you going to do with my personal information?
· How do you want to use my social capital? How does that benefit me?
· How does our relationship impact my personal brand?
I’m guessing each of us approaches our networking connections from a different perspective, and that’s fine. But if you are taking time to increase rapport and credibility while decreasing risk I’m sure the strength of your network is growing like crazy.