Reverse Networking

In the second installment of my three part series on Networking, I’d like to highlight the tips and advice of District 13 Councillor, Matt Whitman. Matt practices his own unique approach to networking which he calls “Reverse Networking.” The premise of this concept is promoting others rather than promoting oneself.  Matt has had great success in connecting people, which in turn has helped him to create a positive profile and grow his professional and personal network. There are three key principles involved in reverse networking.

Do unto others. Networking isn’t about what is in it for you; it’s about what is in it for others. Gone are the days when being “a shark” in the corporate world would help you progress in your career. Today, it is all about karma and fostering mutually beneficial business relationships. Live by this golden rule: help as many people as possible and those people will, in turn, help you. This mantra goes beyond business. So, help a stranger or let someone ahead of you in traffic; kindness will come back to you tenfold!

Know other people’s elevator pitch. Generally speaking, people like to talk about themselves, so make it easy for them. Ask questions to find out their story so that you can share it with other people. Knowing someone else’s pitch can help you connect the dots in your network. This can be especially helpful if you connect two people who will benefit from the introduction. For example, if you know your friend is considering buying a house and you happen to know a fantastic mortgage broker, introduce them! Not only do you look like a hero for solving a problem, you have strengthened your relationship with both parties.

Network long before you have to. This is a great piece of advice. Too often people start to make connections when they need something (like a new job) or if they are trying to make a sale. If you network before you have to, then you’ve already built up enough of a rapport that people want to help you.

Reverse networking is about creating “positive gossip.” Talking positively about people reflects positively on you and makes it easy for people to say nice things about you. Traditionally speaking, networking has been a one person job. Applying these strategies will help you create a group of people, out there in the world, saying positive things about you. It is like networking while you sleep!


By: Allyson England, Alumna of Meridia