I had a meeting last week with an entrepreneur who was looking for some marketing help. We had a nice, cheap sushi lunch, and over it, I suggested a list of contacts I had who he might want to get in touch with. He wrote them down, which was not especially noteworthy. Lots of people take notes.
However, what happened the next day was truly unusual. I've probably been in five thousand meetings in my life, and what invariably happens is that people take some desultory notes, leave them somewhere, and never see them again. Not this guy. The next day, I got this email:
With apologies to the New Radicals ("You Get What You Give" is a great pop song, with an even greater video involving, I think, a bunch of yuppies ending up locked in dog cages in a shopping mall. But I digress) I just read a great post about the neurobiological basis for generosity as the source of trust. http://nevereatalone.typepad.com/blog/2005/04/generosity_the_.html
The biology is interesting, sort of, but it underscores a more obvious, less complex facts about business relationships in general, and networking in particular. I was talking to a client of mine yesterday about networking, and he expressed some distaste for it. I asked him why, and he told me about a couple of encounters he'd had with people who'd turned out to be multilevel marketing types, who had used a purely social relationship to a) sell encyclopedias, and b) sell Amway. Networking, to him, meant using a relationship to use people. Common, but dead wrong.