Andrew Laird from Life@Work reflects helpfully on how the gospel impacts on the practice of networking with three key suggestions:
So what would it look like to network in this way, in a distinctly Christian, God-honouring way? Here are three suggestions:
1. Ask questions and listen
Asking questions and listening is a key way of communicating (mostly without words!) that the person we are speaking with matters more than us. It demonstrates that how they think and feel, the issues that concern them, and the problems that they are trying to solve, matter to you more than what you have to say to them.
When it comes to networking then, rather than entering each conversation with the selfish agenda of communicating ?here?s what I?ve got for you?, instead approach it with an attitude of ?what are your needs, issues, concerns that I might be able to serve?. Ask questions to discover what this is for that person.
2. Explain how you can serve and bless them
Having discerned how you might be able to serve and love them, explain what you offer in terms of how it might be a blessing to them and enable their betterment and flourishing. Communicate what your product or service is in self-less terms; how you hope it might be for their good.
3. Don?t be forceful
?One thing I can?t stand at networking events is when people insist that their service is necessary for me, even when I?ve expressed otherwise. When they don?t let up and don?t take no for an answer. Such an attitude does not communicate that they selflessly consider my interests better than their own. It communicates that they are only selfishly interested in using me.
So don?t be forceful if someone is not interested. And don?t twist what service you provide in order to make it sound like you desire to love and do good to them, when really all you?re doing is just trying to make another sale. That too is not God-honouring in networking, insisting on providing something that is not needed or unnecessary. And if someone else is meeting the service that you are offering don?t begrudge that, but rejoice that they are being loved and served. Because that?s the main thing isn?t it, that good is being done towards them, regardless of by who.