A letter from Robert Glazer  Founder & Chairman of the Board, Acceleration Partners From United States to me

A letter from Robert Glazer  Founder & Chairman of the Board, Acceleration Partners From United States to me


Leadership Minute: Networking Tips To Make Others Want to Help You
I teamed up with Mike Marcellus, author of the hit newsletter The Strategic Networker, to share our favorite tips for great networking.
JUL 10


Networking is both a science and an art, with many subtleties to doing it right. At its best, networking is about creating value for others, without assuming you’ll get something in return. Unfortunately, most people only network when they need something, and their approach often does more harm than good for everyone involved.

One of the most common networking mistakes occurs when people expect the person they're asking for help to do more heavy lifting than they are willing to do themselves—or they at least give that impression. At best, this approach decreases the likelihood of getting help; at worst, it may make you seem to be lazy, or a taker, which may make people consistently unwilling to offer you to their network in the future.

The best way to understand the nuances of networking is to examine it through the eyes of someone who has been on the receiving end of thousands of requests. That’s why, for this article, I am excited to partner with Mike Marcellus, author of The Strategic Networker, a popular Substack with over 400,000 subscribers.

Mike and I share a similar philosophy on networking and have compared notes on the various types of requests we regularly receive from our networks. Through our discussions, we identified the four most common types of networking requests. For each type, we'll explain what to do, what not to do, and most importantly, how to ask for help without aggravating your contacts.

For each of these experiences, we will share some actual examples of requests we have received, as well as how you can approach each situation to make the most of your network and demonstrate your networking skills.

Requests For Help Finding A Job

Statistics show that over 70 percent of jobs are filled through networking. Naturally, it makes sense to reach out to your network if you are looking for employment.

But there’s a right and wrong way to leverage your network in your job hunt. Reaching out to loose connections or professionals in industries or professions unrelated to what you’re seeking can be a frustrating waste of everyone’s time.

This is especially true when you approach people and ask them high level questions about your job search, such as who might be hiring for a VP of Finance role, which companies have a good culture, or which organizations seem to be growing or healthy.

It’s one thing if you ask a close contact, but I can't count the number of times I've been asked these questions by someone I don’t know well and thought, "Why haven’t you done this research yourself before reaching out to me?" Asking these broad, uninformed questions comes across as lazy, which is the opposite of what most employers want: a person who will go the extra mile.

Rather than just spamming your network asking about job openings, Mike and I recommend doing the following:

Do your own research to find companies and roles that fit your skills and experience. Use LinkedIn, company websites, Glassdoor, Indeed and other online resources to gather data
Then, search your network to see if anyone you know is connected to the hiring manager for the role you want, or is at least connected to someone at your target company.
Reach out to the person in your network to confirm whether they have contacts at your target companies and which ones they would be willing to reach out to on your behalf. Be clear that, for each intro, you will send over a custom cover letter and/or an email introduction customized for the company with your resume so that they can just copy and paste.
Finally, keep your contacts up to date on the progress of your job search. Regardless of the outcome, express gratitude and thank them for their help.
Remember, don’t ask people you don’t already know closely to be an unpaid recruiter for you, as they have a day job. Do the heavy lifting yourself and use your network to strategically make smart intros that help get you to the top of the resume pile.

Meeting Requests

Mike told me that he received an online message from a new connection that made him cringe:

“Hey Mike, I love your newsletter! Do you think you have some time this week to chat – I would love to meetup and pick your brain on how I can launch my own newsletter!”

I found myself nodding as Mike told me this, because I get notes like this all the time—from people who want to start everything from a newsletter, to a podcast, to a book, to an entire company.

First, let me say I love to help people. Second, there is nothing wrong with asking for help.

But there is proper etiquette to consider when asking for brainstorming meetings, especially with someone you don’t know.

When I hear someone ask if they can meet to “pick my brain?”, what I hear is “can I take up your valuable time to educate myself for free?”

A more effective approach would be: “Hey Mike, I love your newsletter! I’ve started my own newsletter and have some different ideas on how to grow it. Would you like to meet to compare strategies and share ideas?” This suggests that the person asking for the meeting may have some ideas to give Mike as well, showing an offer for mutual value creation.

A few quick points to keep in mind when requesting a meeting:

Always share truthfully why you want to meet. Don’t tell someone you “just want to catch up” when really you want to ask for their advice, an intro, or their money.
Thank them in advance for their time.
If the meeting is primarily for your benefit, offer to buy them a meal, drink or coffee.
Ask how you could help them in return.
Thank them for their time after the meeting, in writing.
I know networking has evolved and changed in many ways, but there will always be proper protocols and etiquette when it comes to doing it the right way.


Just the other day, I got a LinkedIn connection request from someone I didn’t know.

After I reviewed his profile, I decided there were some synergies between our work, so I accepted his connection request. Within a couple hours, he sent me a list of three names who were first connections on LinkedIn. He wanted personal introductions to each one.

This was an immediate no for me—and I found myself regretting accepting the request. I immediately canceled the connection.

Getting introduced to key decision makers is a priority for many professionals. But there is a right and wrong way to ask for introductions. And rule number one is ironclad: never ask someone you don’t know well to introduce you to other people.

Some other rules of thumb for requesting introductions include:

Be transparent: Clearly explain why you want to be introduced.
Be accommodating: Give a template they can use to send the introduction, and make it clear both parties have something to gain.
Be undemanding: If they aren’t comfortable making the introduction, respect their decision no matter what.
Be gracious: Thank them for considering your request.
Finally, never give someone a list of people you want to get introduced to—your network connections are not your sales team. No one wants to burn their network by introducing their connection to aggressive salespeople.


We all want good advice. It makes us better people.

But many professionals get paid to give advice. Consultants, coaches, lawyers, doctors, and many others have worked hard to be able to charge for sharing what they learned from their education, training, and expertise.

So, where do we draw the line?

When networking, you shouldn’t ask someone you don’t really know for free advice, especially if they are a paid expert in their field. This tends to be tricky in the world of business, whereas it’s much clearer if you are reaching out to an accountant or a lawyer.

Some of the best ways to ask for professional advice include:

Be specific about the advice you are seeking. Include specific questions so they have the option to respond in writing, rather than having to schedule a call.
Acknowledge upfront that you understand if they charge for their time.
If appropriate, offer to compensate them for their time or suggest a brief discovery meeting.
Express gratitude for any time they are willing to devote to you and follow up with a thank you note.
Effective networking relies on a few essential principles. Always do the heavy lifting yourself—come prepared and don’t expect others to do the work for you. Be upfront and transparent about your intentions and the help you need through clear, considerate requests. Respect the other person’s time by being concise and to the point. Finally, avoid making the interaction one-sided. Demonstrate the value you can bring to the relationship or their network.

By following these guidelines, you will build meaningful, reciprocal connections that benefit all parties involved. This approach not only encourages others to help you but also positions you as someone who can provide valuable assistance in return.

Learn more about Mike Marcellus by joining 400,000 people who subscribe to the Strategic Networker.


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