With the emergence of social media and even 'social selling', technology is aiding our ability to connect to people of influence across subjects, hierarchies, sectors and countries at rapid speed. Primarily though, effective networking is still built around the ability to connect and build relationships of trust. This essentially means that the right people  for your network have the ability to know who you are and what you do. Look carefully and analyse the people around you  – those you associate with most often. How do they network and who do you regard highly in this space? How many of them are generous to a fault, as well as give back to their network regularly in a genuine, helpful manner? In my experience, there is a classic divide in this space between the givers and the takers, or as I like to call them: the Saints and Sinners.  

The Saints

More often than not, the Saints are patient listeners. They operate with care and humility and look to serve others in their network. Saints have sincere interest in others. They genuinely want others to be successful. The Saints give back to their network. They look to connect people, collaborate and share information. The Saints add value to any network. You should know exactly who I am talking about!  

The Sinners

The Sinners, sadly, prefer expediency and speed in new interactions. They try too hard and are self-interested - they talk about themselves too much. The Sinners are slaves to their own needs. The Sinners are always looking for a quick transaction and do not build long-term relationships of trust over time. They typically resent the success of others. Their ego drives their conversations in business and that is why they are ultimately seen as ‘takers’.   I want to ask you to reflect on your key inner network this week – who is your sounding board, your inner sanctum? Who are your trusted 5-6 key people? More importantly, how could you give back to that network and ultimately be a better networker?