Grow Your Professional Network by Building Trust
We all recognize money as a currency but how many of us think of trust as a personal currency? Like money, trust is exchanged for something the other person perceives as valuable. It can also be won or lost through an action or choice that becomes a defining factor over time.
Trust can color situations in a positive, helpful light and mistrust can darken them with skepticism. Trust is often at its most powerful when shared within a network of individuals from many walks of life. Networks can be face-to-face or conducted online. With time and consistency, trust becomes the glue of networks at work, school and in social media channels.
As business professionals, trust built through a network is an important way to shine a light on what’s good and share it with others through referrals and recommendations. For example, one of the best complements any business can receive is positive recognition from a customer or client. This gesture recognizes a job well done in a way no marketing campaign ever could.
Share a Positive Message
One of the most powerful things about a demonstration of trust in a person or service is the ability to share the interaction. Sharing a positive message to someone in their network further multiplies the impact. If you trust the person sharing the message that in turn builds your own level of trust with the product, person or service referenced. A person or a business who can consistently demonstrate this becomes a natural thing for others to want to know and trust.
Within a network, trust is dependent on giving first and receiving second. Those who build trust and give of their time and services demonstrate their value. Someone who takes without giving in return is merely a leach on the good feelings and resources of the group. To be effective, a network must provide value and mutual understanding. Otherwise, trust within the network will cease to exist.
One of the most important resources of a successful networker is giving of their time and expecting nothing in return. This could be making a phone call on someone’s behalf, posting a recommendation, offering kudos on a website or social channel or sending a congratulatory email. These short messages are powerful and have the potential to open a floodgate of positivity. It’s a method of offering simply because it’s the right thing to do. The assistance given in the moment provides a feeling of goodwill for the giver and is reciprocated for whoever reads the message. Those who choose to share with their trusted network create a multiplier effect for all who interact with it.
It’s never too late to get started on building your own personal, social and professional networks. In fact, you already have more connections than you realize. Cultivate these networks with generosity of spirit, time and trust building. You never know when a well-timed phone call, coffee meeting or face-to-face encounter might present you with the job opportunity you’ve been looking for.