7 quick ways to build trust when you network

The currency of networking is not greed but generosity.

Keith Ferrazzi, ‘Never Eat Alone’


The rule of reciprocity

If someone passes you at work and says hello, you feel compelled to return their greeting.

When they don’t respond to your greeting, you notice it, it makes you uncomfortable: out of balance.

That’s the rule of reciprocation.

The Hare Krishna have used this rule, increasing heir sparse funds to millions of pounds in the last few decades.

And you thought that flower, or the Bhagavad Gita was just a gift, eh?  You wait til they pull out the contactless card machine from under those orange robes.


Reciprocation as the a ‘trust glue’

Rob Cross and Andrew Parker, authors of ‘The Hidden Power of Social Networks’ observed that networks thrive on the fact that members of that network give, knowing the get will come later.

During their research, they discovered that individuals decide whether they like and trust others – and, would therefore, do business with them – on the strength of small acts of generosity.


7 quick ways to build trust with people you’re just getting to know

So what would be thought of as ‘giving’?

  1. Time to talk through a matter in which you have experience (it needn’t be directly related to your work);
  2. sharing information, maybe professional knowledge such as good suppliers;
  3. posting news articles on a subject interesting to the other party;
  4. passing news of forums, or clubs which you think might be of specific interest to individuals;
  5. showing someone round an area that they’re not familiar but you are;
  6. giving book / theatre / film recommendations;
  7. ask people the following question when you meet them:

“Who can I put you in touch with who can help you with your project (be that suppliers, clients or investors).”  Ask for nothing in return.

It doesn’t matter that some of these pointers aren’t necessarily work related. It shows you see them beyond their professional persona.  There’s more to us than work so it’s strong rapport builder if you see that.

Note: only give contacts and any other personal information when you have ascertained the credibility of the person to whom you’re giving away your contact.  And you need to be even more certain about trusting the contact.  The role of ‘Connector’ means knowing who you’re connecting.


Your Action

Now add two contacts you’d like to get in touch with and what you’ll be offering them:








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