Networking is difficult during the best of times. As many of us are still physically distant from one another, networking can be all the more challenging. Here are 20 quotes that will give you the motivation and edge you need to become an all-star networker.
Networking is key to success.
No matter what your role is, networking is critical to your career success. The strength of your network can make or break your search for your next job, your ability to acquire new customers or business partners, or the likelihood that you’ll land a big promotion.
Robert Kiyosaki, author and founder of Rich Global LLC and the Rich Dad Company, is adamant that networking is key to success. He’s explained,
The richest people in the world look for and build networks, everyone else looks for work. Marinate on that for a minute. —Robert Kiyosaki
Porter Gale—internationally renowned public speaker, networker, and entrepreneur—also believes in the unparalleled strength of networking. The title of her bestselling book espouses her views:
Your network is your net worth.—Porter Gale
American political commentator, entrepreneur, author, and talk show host, Armstrong Williams, is another firm believer in networking as a cornerstone of monetary success. He’s explained,
Networking is an essential part of building wealth.—Armstrong Williams
Be a giver.
Effective networks measure their networks not based on quality or influence, but more so on generosity. American entrepreneur and recognized global thought leader in the relational and collaborative sciences, Keith Ferrazzi, has emphasized the importance of being a “giver” when building your network. He’s said,
The currency of real networking is not greed but generosity. — Keith Ferrazzi
Like Ferrazzi, Adam Grant has documented the importance of giving to one’s network in his book, Give and Take. He’s explained,
If we create networks with the sole intention of getting something, we won’t succeed. We can’t pursue the benefits of networks; the benefits ensue from investments in meaningful activities and relationships.—Adam Grant
Deepak Chopra—named TIME magazine’s “top 100 heroes and icons of the century”—also believes in the power of giving. He’s said,
Giving connects two people, the giver and the receiver, and this connection gives birth to a new sense of belonging.—Deepak Chopra
Focus on others, but be strategic.
It’s not enough just to be a giver. According to Grant, there are two types of givers --selfless givers and otherish givers. Selfless givers drop everything on a dime to help others. But they are so committed to helping others that they can easily be taken advantage of.
Otherish givers, on the other hand, are just as willing to give as selfless givers but they are much more strategic. They ensure that others don’t take advantage of them. A great way to be an other-ish giver is to be kind and express genuine interest in others.
Famed author and lecturer Dale Carnegie is one of many effective networkers who has emphasized the value of focusing on others in building a strong network. He’s said,
You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.—Dale Carnegie
Maya Angelou like Carnegie, emphasized the importance of adopting an other-ish mentality. She once said,
I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.—Maya Angelou
Develop an authentic connection.
The most effective networkers are authentic. As speaker and bestselling author Bob Burg, has explained,
People can tell. They know — maybe consciously, perhaps unconsciously — if you are truly interested in them or just fakin’ it in order to manipulate or “get something” from them.—Bob Burg
This is why Burg believes that authenticity is at the heart of all strong, long-lasting relationships. He’s added,
The single greatest "people skill" is a highly developed & authentic interest in the *other* person.—Bob Burg
Adopt a long-term view.
Herminia Ibarra, an organizational behavior professor at London Business School, reminds us that effective networkers focus on the long-game. Networks aren’t created overnight. It takes approximately two years before customers trust a brand. Similarly, it can easily take years to establish a high level of trust with a member of your network.
Networking is a lot like nutrition and fitness: we know what to do, the hard part is making it a top priority.— Herminia Ibarra
Diane Helbig—internationally recognized business and leadership development advisor, author, and award-winning speaker—echoes Ibarra in emphasizing the importance of viewing networking as a long-term investiture. She’s said,
Networking is an investment in your business. It takes time and when done correctly can yield great results for years to come.—Diane Helbig
Grant believes that being an effective giver is directly correlated with one’s tendency to view networking as a marathon, not a sprint.
Being a giver is not good for a 100-yard dash, but it’s valuable in a marathon.—Adam Grant
Develop a wide-reaching network.
In 2013, bestselling author Michael Simmons interviewed Ronald Burt, one of the world’s top network scientists. He asked him about the number one best predictor of career success. Burt's response? An open network.
An open network is a network where you are connected to different clusters of people who don’t know each other (versus a closed network where you are connected to people who tend to know each other). Because people who build open networks are able to connect to many diverse viewpoints and perspectives, they're more likely to gain novel information from their network.
On the value of developing an open network, Burt has explained,
Instead of better glasses, your network gives you better eyes.—Ronald Burt
Michele Jennae, author of The Connectworker, shares Burt’s belief in the importance of developing a wide-reaching network.
Networking is not about just connecting people. It’s about connecting people with people, people with ideas, and people with opportunities.—Michele Jennae
Focus on quantity, not quality.
Harvey Mackay, a seven-time, New York Times best-selling author is one among countless all-star networkers who believes that, when it comes to networking, quality is far more important than quantity. He’s explained,
My Golden Rule of Networking is simple: Don't keep score.—Harvey Mackay
Jarod Kintz, author of This Book is Not for Sale, similarly believes that quality trumps quantity in the realm of networking.
Networking is more quality, and less quantity. It’s better to form a solid connection with one new person, than a liquid connection with ten. You don’t want people to think you drink too much. ―Jarod Kintz
Beware of technology.
Effective networks measure their networks not based on quality or influence, but more so on generosity. Master networker Heidi Roizen has cautioned against confusing social media connections with actual intimacy. She’s explained,
Just because someone connects with you on LinkedIn doesn't mean they're your friend. Social media creates a false sense of intimacy, particularly when people choose to expose a lot about themselves.—Heidi Roizen
Like Roizen, the late Steve Jobs, while a technology icon, cautioned against relying too heavily on technology when building a strong network. He said,
Technology is nothing. What’s important is that you have a faith in people, that they’re basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them.—Steve Jobs
When it comes to networking, technology is a double-edged sword. Reliance on social networking platforms and vanity network metrics can be a recipe for ineffective networking, yet reliance on the right tools can prove invaluable. Tools like Affinity that reveal the strength of your network and allow you to drill down and identity untapped opportunity can make all the difference in helping you forge an unparalleled network.
When considering which tools and technologies you’ll leverage to strengthen your network, consider whether the tools are powered by network and relationship intelligence and designed with the principles of effective networking in mind. As Brian Reed, host and co-creator of the groundbreaking podcast S-Town, has said,
Everything is designed. Few things are designed well.—Brian Reed