Networking is really about generosity: Initial thoughts on Give and Take

Last week one of the Denver area Right Management career coaches, Sallyanne Oettinger, recommended a book to our weekly Power Networking Event group: Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success by Adam M Grant.

I started the book in the wait for my daughter’s commencement at CSU on Saturday. A few years ago, I started a practice of tweeting nuggets from good reads. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was practicing a particular style of reciprocity that Adam describes and contrasts with other styles in Chapter 1-Good Returns, the dangers and rewards of giving more than you get. He describes three styles: giving, taking and matching.

The cool thing about tweeting nuggets is that you can quickly capture what caught your eye on your own timeline and let it spin out to your followers and the greater “twitterverse”. At once it’s self-serving (if being able to find things you value later can be classified as such) and beneficial. You never know who needs to see what you saw just at that moment.

I got the neatest surprise shortly after I sent my first tweet on the topic, I got a notification that none other than @AdamMGrant had marked it as a favorite. You can follow my discoveries on twitter by following @dgriess. The key message I would leave is this: Networking is really nothing more than being generous. Just as Sallyanne was generous in sharing this book with our group and I was generous in sharing nuggets and Adam let me know he noticed, just so “Something happens when givers succeed: it spreads and cascades” (page 10).

If you have doubts about networking and you think you will be violating your altruistic values, consider this: if networking is really sharing, how is it not altruistic? We don’t network to find a job. Opportunities are borne along on the network. As you show your value, they will find you.