The heart of networking is of course the relationship. And with any relationship it is a give and take. I have long been a proponent of being selective about the people you choose to be in your network. When determining who to include in your network consider some of the following factors:
1. Is this person willing to give to the networking relationship as much as they take?
2. Can you count on them to return calls and emails?
3. Will they speak highly of you in your absence?
4. Will they open up their network to you without hesitation?
5. Will they keep their eyes and ears open for ways to help you?
6. Will they check in periodically to nurture the relationship?
It is easy to create a list of “must haves” for who you might allow to be part of your network. The hard part is to look in the mirror and ask yourself: “Am I a good person others will want to include in their network?” Ironically, the list outlined above can also be a partial definition of professional integrity.