“Yes” – such a simple word, easy to say and the key to help you with your networking efforts in life. By saying “Yes” to others in their time of need, individuals will be more willing to say “Yes” to you if the time should ever arise when you need assistance.
Going out of your way to help others is not hard to do. Someone asks you to help at a church event – say yes. A colleague asks you for help on a work project – say yes. The local alumni club asks if anyone is willing to help with the annual sendoff picnic – say yes. Be willing to extend your hand in a gesture of help and others will be more likely to reciprocate.
One word of caution, don’t say “Yes” to others for the sole purpose of collecting future favors. Don’t approach networking as a zero-sum game, rather approach in the most idyllic sense, because helping others is the right thing to do. This is why I recommend saying “Yes” to others before one ever finds himself in the position of asking for help. Your willingness to help voluntarily as opposed to helping because of a perceived need to reciprocate, will be looked upon very favorably.
With pure intentions behind your “Yes” I believe you will find you will be the beneficiary of many returns of assistance.