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The term networking stuck in the late 1900s but the concepts date back to the beginning of time. Humans naturally make connections to grow their sphere of influence, increase their social status, and improve their circumstances. Throughout history, we see examples of unqualified people holding positions of power because they knew someone or were related to someone.

 It’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know. Any person entering the professional field knows this mantra. We then base our networking methods on this phrase. Networking events, meetup sessions, and business trips all become an avenue for you to make a new connection who benefits you. In his book, Friend of a Friend, David Burkus, a bestselling author, describes society’s view on networking as, “an insincere way to manipulate relationships for a personal gain.”

Unfortunately, Burkus is correct. In our pursuit of personal gain, we use networking to gain the most we can from each person in our network. New, more prestigious connections always take precedent. All college kids join LinkedIn and connect with parent’s business associates, professors, and the various important people they know. This ascribes negative feelings to the thought of networking.

Humans innately seek their self-interests first. An excellent example, albeit a fictional example, of our natural, selfish tendencies is in Captain America: The First Avenger. The officer throws a dummy grenade amid the platoon and all the soldiers scatter for cover. Steve Rogers jumps on the grenade and proves he is worthy of selection for the super serum because of his selfless heart. We need to refocus our natural self-interest to understand the truth about networking. It’s not about you.

People currently view networking to benefit themselves when they need to focus on how to help others. The primary goal of networking is, how can I use my connections to help others? For instance, if you know a person looking for a job in the video production industry, and you know a successful videographer, introduce them! If the videographer isn’t hiring, they have the connections and experience to assist the job seeker. Actively seek out people’s needs and meet them with your connections. Genuinely care about helping others with your network. People know when you genuinely care. Using your network to help others develop lasting relationships rather than short term rungs on a ladder.

Selfless networking leads to positive results in your own life and business activities too. People love helping someone who helped them. It reveals your character and heart. Jut like Steve Rogers jumping on the grenade, you prove yourself worthy. As a small business, selfless networking aids the establishment of your brand.

Helping other local businesses, or even community organizations with your connections and resources associates your business with noble character.

Use your network, your connections, and your resources to help others indiscriminately. Remember, networking is not about you.

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Origami Technology Group INC does not own the rights or claim to own the rights to the image of Steve Rogers from the Marvel Cinematic Universe Movie, Captain America: The First Avenger. Disney and the Marvel Cinematic Universe in no way endorse or support Origami Technology Group INC. The image was used under the protection of the Fair Use doctrine with the purpose of using an example to educate our readers on the true purpose of networking.

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