You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

Making Relationships Count: The Key To Successful Networking Networking is more than being about who you know- it's what those people think of you.

By Dawn Metcalfe

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.


Networking is important. Of course it is. Who you know is always important. But it's not more important than what you know- and your wasta, guanxi, or your connections won't get you (or keep you) where you want to be, unless they are very good indeed (and you're not dreadful).

So, networking is more than being about who you know- it's what those people think of you. It's whether those people think of you at all. And just getting someone's business card, having them on your email list, or seeing them as a connection on LinkedIn is not successful networking.

Related: How To Reach Out To (And Get Noticed By) Busy People

Successful networking is when you care about people and they care about you. It's about thinking of the other person as a person first and foremost, and then, much later if at all, seeing if they can help you.

If you're like most people in the world, you get a lot of requests for connections on LinkedIn. You probably also meet a lot of people. And you know most of them aren't that interested in you. You can tell. Here are some signs:

1. They don't take the time to personalize the usual "I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn" request, which would have taken perhaps only 30 seconds of their time to remind you of how you know them, or why you should "link" with them.

2. They see you as a contact, a follower, or simply an entry in their database, and they communicate with you exclusively in this way.

3. They only get in touch when they need help.

Related: Developing and Maintaining Connections For Self-Made Success

None of these things make them bad people- it just means that they're not that into you. And when you realize that, you have to ask yourself why. Maybe it's because you're not that into them? Maybe you don't help them understand how you can help them, and why they should see you as a person? Maybe you don't treat them like a person either?

You'll probably be amazed to hear that I respond to every single person who contacts me. This is because I've adopted a Google-like motto of "Don't be obnoxious." And this, for me, means treating people like people- they aren't a business card, they aren't just "contacts", they are human beings. Some of them are great, and some suck, and some are more important than you, and some are just starting out. Some are just plain weird. But at least at the beginning (and until they become weird), they all deserve your respect, so treat people like people.

Or, to put it another way, treat them with some respect. And then, expect some respect in return. If you don't get that, then walk away.

Related: It's Not Just About Collecting Business Cards: How To Properly Network

Dawn Metcalfe

Coach, Trainer, Author, Speaker

Dawn Metcalfe is workplace culture advisor, author and speaker. She is the founder of PDSi, which helps individuals and teams drive organizational and behavioral change. Dawn’s first book was Managing the MatrixThe HardTalk Handbook is her second. Dawn speaks regularly at events and in the media on any topic where people and business intersect. You can read more about HardTalk at and about PDSi at Talk to Dawn on Twitter @DawnPDSi

Side Hustle

This Dad Started a Side Hustle to Save for His Daughter's College Fund — Then It Earned $1 Million and Caught Apple's Attention

In 2015, Greg Kerr, now owner of Alchemy Merch, was working as musician when he noticed a lucrative opportunity.

Business News

I Designed My Dream Home For Free With an AI Architect — Here's How It Works

The AI architect, Vitruvius, created three designs in minutes, complete with floor plans and pictures of the inside and outside of the house.


Mustafa Khawaja's Sparta Nutrition Looks To Target Middle East Fitness Enthusiasts

Founded by Mustafa Khawaja and his younger brother Murtaza Khawaja in 2016, Sparta Nutrition was set up with a basic goal of "real products and real results."

Business News

Side Hustles Are Soaring as Entrepreneurs Start Businesses Working Part- or Full-Time Elsewhere, According to a New Report

The younger the entrepreneur, the more likely they were to start a business as a side hustle.

Thought Leaders

5 Success Tips for the Serial Entrepreneur Entering a New Industry

Before you do things your own way, be certain you understand why people in the business do it their way.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.