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A simple and useful networking gift that anyone can give for free

As I've written elsewhere [1], networking has proven to be a crucial new focus (and set of skills) as I develop my personal productivity practice. One issue that often comes up when starting out is that of finding something to give to the folks you'd like to connect with. As Keith Ferrazzi says in Never Eat Alone:
"I learned that real networking was about finding ways to make other people more successful. It was about working hard to give more than you get."
However, I sometimes felt that, as someone new to the field, I didn't have much to offer. As I said in my interview with Josh Hinds, one gift is that of good, honest listening, but I've come up with something more concrete that almost anyone can give.

It's simple: I noticed when doing my research on people that their web sites often had typos, grammar errors [2], and broken links and pictures. So I decided to turn them into little gifts. In fact, they can be openers when you have no other obvious introduction to someone. I've shared a dozen or so of these, and recipients are usually quite grateful. (They're often too busy to stay on top of web site changes, or they haven't looked at their own pages in a while.)

The only advice I'd give about the approach is to keep it short, and be respectful, e.g., "your site was great; thought you'd like to know..." My main point is usually that the errors might be diminishing her message.

So if your personality runs into the detailed side of things, keep track of those errors - they can be valuable!


Reader Comments (6)

You wrote:
"As I said in my interview with Josh Hinds, one gift is that of good, honest listening, but I've come up something more concrete that almost anyone can give."

You are missing the word "with" after "up" and before "something."

My gift to you. ;'>

September 26, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Much obliged, anonymous! I've just fixed it. Thank you.

September 26, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew Cornell

I've been reading about Social Capital as espoused by Dr. Wayne E. Baker and I thought you might be interested in this view of personal networking. You've helped me with more than typo corrections in the past, so here is my way of reciprocating. I've placed links to the papers and articles at speakhead.com. Check out my posts under the category "Social Capital".


November 2, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterspeaker

Hey, Salil - thanks a bunch!

For reference, here are Salil's links:

[ Dr. Wayne E. Baker, Building Social Capital as an HR Competence, IHRIM Journal April - June 2001 | http://www.humaxnetworks.com/Building%20Social%20Capital%20as%20an%20HR%20Competence.pdf ], [ Dr. Wayne E. Baker, Social Capital, Future - The Aventis Magazine | http://www.humaxnetworks.com/Aventis%20Future%20Magazine%20Article.pdf ]

November 5, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew Cornell
This article was informative, so I will test it out on you. I thought you'd like to know that your header entitled, "Personal Heros" is spelled incorrectly. It should be spelled "Heroes".
January 13, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAlissa
Thanks very much, Alissa. It's corrected, and I am humbly grateful.
January 27, 2015 | Registered CommenterMatthew Cornell

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