September 14

Why value exchange is at the heart of a successful network


Knowledge sharing is the new currency. It strengthens processes, relationships, and even profit margins.

Richard Branson said, “Nobody can be successful alone”. In today’s world of constant challenge, change and busyness, you simply will not be able to move fast enough on your own.

Building a network for personal growth in the 21st century hinges on:

  • connecting and collaborating with the right people
  • openly sharing knowledge and insights with individuals who understand our goals and aspirations and who nurture a collective interest in our own growth and that of the whole group.

At the heart of a successful network lies this concept of value exchange — a mutually beneficial process that relies on more than just a transaction. Value exchange is about two or more individuals sharing insights, connections, knowledge and ideas. This is where sales and market value increase exponentially.

When you learn to share openly with others, with no expectation of anything in return, everyone benefits. This is the principle of value exchange — giving and taking information, products or services freely to benefit both parties. It’s the two-way street of powerful networking.

What is value exchange and why is it important?

Value exchange requires trust, faith and the ability to engage in conversation; to be switched on to the needs of others and to be curious about how you can help. The question ‘What can I do to help you?’ should be running on continuous rotation. And guess what? At the start of any relationship, more often than not you have to give more, making deposits for the future value of the connection.

Value exchange, the cross-fertilisation of intelligence and sharing of skills and knowledge, is the new currency. Collective thinking and active sharing of knowledge and ideas create new opportunities for all. No money changes hands.

Each party involved gains knowledge, information and perhaps eventually even financial reward from their involvement. But the priority is the sharing of information, the connection that is made and the network that is built. The use of skills and thought as currency is something that is only going to increase in a future where knowledge means money.

We all have something to share and something to give. It could be job opportunities, business leads, a white paper, information to help fast-track decisions, a go-to-market opportunity — and of course an introduction between two parties, knowing that opportunities can be found within that connection.

What can you trade? What information do you have to share with your network? Offer to help. Be willing to help. Make connections that matter, share information that matters and foster a pay-it-forward relationship. Show your network that giving is as good as getting.

Janine Garner is an internationally-acclaimed entrepreneur and Fortune 500 mentor, keynote speaker and author.

This is an edited excerpt from ‘It’s who you know: How a network of 12 key people can fast-track your success’.


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