Be forewarned, this may sound like some sort of venting but trust me, I am not alone in voicing this complaint.

You’ve probably experienced something like this yourself. You’ve gotten together with a new networking contact and are reviewing possible introductions and connections that you can help them with. The introductions are with other “connectors” and referral sources and all of a sudden you hear “wow, they would be good for me.”

There’s a pause while you wait for them to elaborate and perhaps explain more, even adding what might be the most important part of the exchange namely how they, in turn, can benefit the person to whom they would like an introduction.

Seems simple right.

When I make an introduction (and believe me I do scads of them) I am always thinking about the reciprocity that can ensue. Oh, not the reciprocity for me. I don’t necessarily keep a scorecard (i.e. I gave you one, now where’s mine).

No, I’m more interested in how it’s going to work between the people that I introduce to each other. Will they be mutually beneficial or will one of them simply see the other as a treasure trove of contacts without, in fact, returning the favor.  It is, as the cliché goes, a 2-way street.

But many networkers don’t see it that way. They ask (sometimes even expect) introductions and they can’t seem to get beyond WIFM (what’s in it for me). Selfishness rules.

So I’ve gotten very wary and when people say that they like me to introduce them to someone I always ask why and when they explain that this person would be “good” for them, I, in turn, ask if they would be good for the other person as well. Do they have introductions and contacts that can benefit this person because if they don’t, it may not be an introduction that is well received.

And, as all people connectors know, people are our currency. We don’t want to get it wrong. We always want it to be good for everyone.