Six Essentials for Networking

Recently, I was handed a copy of a book called Rules for Renegades: How to Make More Money, Rock Your Career, and Revel in Your Individuality by Christine Comaford-Lynch.

In the book, she names six networking essentials that are not necessarily the ones people might traditionally think of as the keys to networking success, but I think they can be of significant value–especially her advice on equalizing yourself with others. So I’d like to reprint them for you here, and I invite you to leave comments. Here’s Comaford-Lynch’s list:

1. Practice “Palm Up” Networking. When you network, are you giving or grasping? Palm up networking embodies the spirit of service, of giving and wanting nothing in return. When you network “palm down,” you’re grasping for personal gain. Palm up = heart-oriented interaction. Palm down = greedy grasping. Give to others; it’ll all come back to you in time.

2. Exercise Daily Appreciation. Appreciate at least one person daily. Sometimes I do this via e-mail so I can be thorough. And often, to my delight, the recipient will tell me that they are saving the message for when they need a pick-me-up. You can also express appreciation over the phone or in person. Simply tell someone how much you appreciate who they are or what they do–whatever about them moves you. They’ll be flattered, and you’ll feel great.

3. Equalize Yourself with Others. I believe we all have one unit of worth: no more, no less. No one can add to it; no one can take it away. We’re all equal. Just because someone is powerful, rich and famous doesn’t mean they are better than you. Practice equalizing yourself with others. This will enable you to more comfortably interact with others and to reach out to people of all walks of life.

4. Rolodex Dip. This is a fun practice when you want to connect with someone but aren’t sure whom. Flip through your contact database and pick a name. Then think of all the things you like about them. Now call them up to see how they are doing. They’ll be surprised and delighted.

5. Pick a “Sensei of the Day.” Each day I pick a sensei, a teacher. This is someone or something that has taught me a lesson or reminded me of what’s important in life. Your sensei can be a person, a pet, a plant; it doesn’t matter. The important thing is to acknowledge that there is much to learn and you are being offered valuable lessons constantly.

6. Do the Drive-By Schmooze. Parties and conventions–groups of all sorts–are great opportunities to network. But sometimes you’ll be tired, not in the mood or have too many events in one evening (like during the holiday season). This is when you’ll want to use the Drive-By Schmooze. Here’s how:

a. Timebox your networking. Decide that in 30 minutes you’ll do a check-in to determine if you need to stay any longer.

b. Set your goal. Determine the number of new connections you want to establish. Remember, your goal is meaningful connections, not simply contacts.
c. Let your intuition guide you. This may sound flaky, but it works! Stand near the door, in a corner, out of the way. Stop your thoughts. Internally ask to be guided to the people you need to connect with. Then start walking. You’ll be amazed at whom you meet.
d. Connect. You’ll always resonate with someone at an event. When you do, ask questions about them, such as: How did you get started in your field? What’s your ideal customer? We all love to talk about ourselves, and these questions will not only help you form a connection with this person, but will also tell you how to help them.
e. Offer help and follow through. If you can provide help, jot down ideas on the back of their business card, commit to follow up, and then do it. If you’ve had a fruitful conversation and want to take it further, offer to meet for lunch or coffee. People say life is 90 percent about showing up. Nonsense! Life is 90 percent about following through!

For more information on Christine and her bestselling book, Rules for Renegades, please visit:

7 thoughts on “Six Essentials for Networking

  1. It is also important to develop ‘turbulent’ as well as ‘support’ networks. The people in your turbulent network will tell you the truth, even when you don’t want to hear it.

    You should ensure that the purpose of the network is not to exclude others, and build a network that is bigger than the individuals involved.

    Research carried out by international leadership development organisation Common Purpose has revealed a change in attitude towards networks and networking, with 68% of those surveyed expecting to increase their networking activity over the next five years. This rises to 75% within 25-44 year olds.

  2. I like this blog, thanks. I consistently use the Rolodex Dip, it is a great way to stay connected and people like the little surprise interactions.

    Equalize yourself is very powerful. I will pass that one on to many of my students.


  3. This is such an awesome concept and something I wholehartedly believe and always try to practice. Here are some things I have done and had great success from:

    1) Always think of ways you can help people out. Whether that be by putting them in touch with a good contact, writing an unsolicited recommendaiton for them on LinkedIn, or giving them a piece of advice. For example, if someone gives me a business card, and it has a crappy email address, something like, I turn them onto buying their name or their company’s name as a domain. It only costs about $9 a year, and sounds way more slick. Plus, it allows you to begin to create a brand for yourself.
    2) Give people a small, cool gift. Years ago, a friend told me about the idea of a “my favorites” birthday party. When you send out invitations, you ask everyone to bring a gift of something that is their favorite – their favorite CD, book, toy, gadget…whatever. That year, I collected some really cool stuff from my friends – I was turned onto a new CD, a book I had never read, etc. Do that with the people you meet. It doesn’t have to be anything big, just something thoughtful. In the past, I have given copies of some of my favorites book to business contacts, and it has gotten a really good response.

  4. Love this synopsis of 6 great ways to network. It really is all about giving. what you cast on the waters will always come back to you. I too, like this blog and find it very helpful

  5. This is a great article about networking. Every networking principle has been summarized into this article. Especially the fact of “Palm Up” Networking, doing to the society will in turn reap benefits to you. I appreciate the Author for summarizing the principles. Great work 🙂

  6. Having just recently joined the BNI community I have found a tremendous amount of knowledge to use in my networking activities. Thank you for all your information and especially this article on “Six Essentials for Networking” this will be the topic for my next BNI meeting as I have assumed the position of Education Coordinator. I have put myself in this position to push harder into understanding the fundamentals of networking and WOMBAT. Thanks again Ivan for the great content.

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