The essence of networking is the development of business relationships. The hope is that by getting to know someone, a business partnership can be formed which will be mutually beneficial. The more partnerships one can form, the easier and faster one can accomplish their business objective – success.
Therefore, the theory goes, the more you make yourself available, the more likely you are to find someone else you can trust with your business. Or, as Darcy Rezac states in his great networking book Work the Pond, “You’ve got to kiss a lot of frogs to find the right Prince.”
However, one element in networking that perhaps not stressed as much as it needs to be is the issue of trust. If you are going to partner with someone to help your business, you hope they have your best interests at heart as much as theirs. None of this networking activity is worth a tadpole in turtle soup if one’s partners are not trustworthy.
But. how can you tell if someone is as concerned about your success as they are about their own?
Trust me, you never can tell.
However, one good indicator of future success is if they indicate that they have as great a desire to find out about how they can help you as their desire to tell you how you can help them.
When you meet someone at your next networking event, ask them about their business. If the conversation seems to come back to how they serve your needs or they want to know more about what you do, you may have a keeper. If they go on and on about what they can sell you, or what they do in their business, you may need to ask yourself; who do you trust?