4 Steps To Networking Success

4 Steps To Success

The 4 steps below will help you open doors to people before you identity their behavior styles and guiding values. Always remember that whatever your behavior towards other people, bystanders are watching and listening. You never know when a bystander could add something positive to your life. Your sincerity will give bystanders reasons to trust you. Soft skills make connections between people, and those connections create outstanding successes.

U.S. Navy Success

A Navy veteran and college professor with an expertise in depression created the original version of the 4 steps below so Navy recruits could be more successful. I changed the order of the steps and revised the wording for 2 of the steps. I read about these steps in a magazine early in the 2003 Iraq war. I later saw an article about his study in a military journal. The professor has since removed all online evidence of this study. However, a 1988 study by Wallace Bachman suggests that similar actions are normal behavior for the best Naval leaders. Do a search for “Nice Guys Finish First: A SYMLOG Analysis of U.S. Naval Commands” to see how often the study is mentioned as an example of emotional intelligence, high performance teams, effective leadership, and more.

These are the characteristics Bachman found in the best Naval leaders:

People orientation balanced with decisive command role

Take charge ability

Purposeful, assertive, businesslike

Positive and outgoing

Emotionally expressive and dramatic

Warm, sociable, smiling

Friendly and democratic


Likable and fun to be with

Appreciative and trustful


“Nice Guys Finish First: A SYMLOG Analysis of U.S. Naval Commands”
Wallace Bachman
The SYMLOG Practitioner; Applications of Small Group Research
Richard Brian Polley et al. (eds.)

Cited in:
Working With Emotional Intelligence
Goleman, Daniel
1998, page 188.


Elite Teams In The U.S. Army

Stephen Morris
United States Army Veteran
Led combat and non-combat deployments worldwide

“Community, right? Like, you gotta know your… Like this is such a missed aspect of leadership. Like we feel like, “Oh we can’t be friends with them, because they’re our charges.” That is such archaic thought. Right? Like people understand who’s in charge as long as you place boundaries, they’re going to understand when it’s okay to be a friend and when it’s like, ‘Okay, time to shut up and work.”


“In the military, I knew all my peoples’… I knew their spouses, their children, their parents, their birthdays, their anniversaries, the day their mom died. Like, I knew all of those things. And then I get into the corporate world and I guess the corporate world ruined me a little bit for a short period of time, poisoned my mind, if you will, but… and I had to get it back. Yeah, that’s…that’s what happened. The changes I made is just went back to my roots, understanding that this is, this is how I build elite teams in the military, and this is how I need to build elite teams in the corporate world.”


The Winning Formula: Building Elite Teams with Precision with Stephen Morris
Shedding The Corporate Bitch Podcast

Stephen Morris’s website is Renowned Leadership.


The 4 Steps

See opportunity.

Say hello.

Look for common ground.

Ask for advice.


Naval recruits who followed the Naval veteran college professor’s original steps were more successful in the Navy than recruits who did not. What works for naval recruits can work for you.

You ask for advice if a situation arises in which you need advice. Do not invent a reason to ask for advice. You do not have to like or agree with people to take these steps. Seeing opportunity and looking for commonalities will give people reasons to listen to you, even if you have different perspectives.

Make your networking more effective by asking the right people for advice in particular situations. The “right” people are the people whose behavior style and guiding value skills match the situation.



Visit the Verbal Clues page for statements from real people that identify DISC behavior styles and Spranger guiding values

“One simple way to build someone’s confidence: Ask for their advice”
Katy Milkman PhD
May 24, 2021


Offering Help

For the sake of safety, women should offer help to other women.

“I encourage women to ask other women for help when they need it,
and it’s likewise safer to accept an offer from a woman than from a
man. (Unfortunately, women rarely make such offers to other women,
and I wish more would.)”

Following this advice, people in any minority or vulnerable group should offer help to each other.

Gavin de Becker
The Gift Of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us From Violence
1997, page 63


Network Widely

You cannot identify the people who would make good connections for you just by looking at them. The people who could make the most difference in your life could even be people who seem to be inferior to you. Travel news journalist Peter Greenberg recommends asking hotel maids and taxi drivers for help because they have extensive local knowledge. Greenberg’s willingness to network with an Egyptian cab driver in New York gave him the opportunity to attend a wedding inside King Farouk’s palace on the Mediterranean Sea. Greenberg is also author of the book, The Travel Detective.

“8 Rules of Serendipity”
Peter Greenberg
AARP Magazine
July&August 2005, page 56

For networking throughout your daily life, see these two books by Melinda Blau and Karen L. Fingerman, PhD:

Consequential Strangers: Turning Everyday Encounters Into Life-Changing Moments 

Consequential Strangers: The Power of People Who Don’t Seem to Matter… But Really Do

Networking opportunities are available everywhere that people go. In every situation you enter, say hello, look for common ground, and avoid judging. If you need help with something, ask for it. These four simple steps could open the door to networking opportunities you didn’t know were possible.


Maintaining Your Best Connections

Once you make connections, maintain your best connections to avoid regret.

Researchers Neal J Roese and Craig Wortmann and producer Fred Schmalz explain why and how to send a “memo to the boss (friends, family, coworkers, etc)” to maintain those connections. The memos also give you the advantage of asking for help indirectly.

Pay attention to these pieces of advice:

“But not all friendships are created equal. So before you start
reaching out to all your connections and filling up your social
calendar with reunions, Roese recommends you spend some
time thinking about exactly which relationships you want to
nurture, and go for quality over quantity.”

“The “memo to the boss” is an easily digestible one-page document
that explains what you’re working on, what you’ve already done,
and what you could use some help with.“

“Your memo to the boss—well, one that actually goes to your boss
—might include a list of steps you’ve taken toward your goals,
people you’ve met with, recent insights you’ve had, and upcoming
meetings or conferences you’ll be attending.”

“And your memo doesn’t have to be all about you, either. Think of it
as an opportunity to ask people in your broader network questions
about themselves, their lives, what thrills them about what they’re
working on, and what’s keeping them up at night.”

Writing memos following the final piece of advice will give people reasons to stay connected to you.

“How to Maintain Your Social and Professional Connections”
Plus, sending a regular “letter to the boss” can help you when you need it most.
Podcast & Transcript
Based On The Research And Insights Of
Neal J. Roese
Craig Wortmann


© Paula M. Kramer, 2010 to the present.
All rights reserved.
Last updated June 5, 2024.