4 Steps To Networking 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.

Early in the second Iraq War, psychiatry professor and Vietnam War veteran Dr. Reg Williams gave advice to new Navy recruits to help them be more successful in the navy.

Say hello.

Look for common ground.

Avoid judging.

Ask for help.

Recruits who followed Dr. Williams’ advice were more successful in the Navy than recruits who did not. What works for naval recruits can work for you.

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

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

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.

The PDF files below are free files to go with the Girl Goodwill poster and the Be A Networker poster. You can use them to create more personal and professional success for yourself. Use them to create more equality in the world. Make your networking more effective by asking the right people for help in particular situations. The “right” people are the people whose behavior style and guiding values match the situation.



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

Dr. Reg Williams taught at the University of Michigan.


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
All rights reserved.
Last updated March 29, 2019