Is altruism possible in business networking?

Yesterday I was part of two separate discussions on business networking. One was live on Twitter through the #tweetdiner tag and the other was via comments on a new blog I had found on Passive Panda. They were mutually exclusive but had similar elements to the conversation.

The gist – is it really possible to connect without motive?

The #tweetdiner folks seemed split on the topic. Many believed as I do that you can connect without motive or expectation. However about as many did not see that as a possibility. To me it was a matter of semantics and the difference between motive or expectation. One might expect something in return for their actions but have had no motive when making the original contact.

What I teach networkers is to help others without thought of return. Certainly returns occur but they should never be expected. Just as the #tweetdiner conversation had me second guessing my altruism James Clear and his blog post on 24 Networking Tips That Work came to the rescue.

I will let you read it for yourself but one comment summed it up for me.

“People enjoy doing business with those they trust and like. The only way to build that trust is to engage with others in a helpful way”.

So tell me I am wrong. Are there always hidden agendas or is it possible to be altruistic and still gain?

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Posted on March 6, 2011, in Networking and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Glad you enjoyed the article on Passive Panda! I feel like this is a tough question to answer.

    Of course, you’re going to be networking because of personal motives. (You want to advance your career, right?) It’s just that the best way to do it, is by helping others. And you have to realize that just because you decided to help someone doesn’t mean they owe the same to you.

    It’s all about providing as much value as you can because eventually it will come back to you.

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