by Morton D. Rosenbaum | December 01, 2004

Book coverBeing a good networker requires more than a chatty demeanor. The real tasks of networking can get lost in the business- card shuffle, says Donna Fisher (, public speaker and co-author of Power Networking (Bard Press; Her advice: 

Give it up. Be as useful to your contacts as they are to you. Offer to send a magazine article of interest, perhaps, and follow through. 

Explore all six degrees. Remember that a new contact means access to a new pool of references and resources. Treat your own contacts as an asset you can provide to others as well.

Connect, then collect. “Networking is not about collecting cards,” Fisher notes. Only seek out contact information for people with whom you plan to stay in touch. Cultivating real relationships with fewer contacts is far more helpful than coming home with a stack of cards.

Work the home front. In the quest for contacts, don’t forget co-workers and even neighbors. Those closest to you make the most valuable network of all.