Teach Your Kids How to Network

Children smiling in a circleEvery parent wants well-connected kids. Many people invest a fortune to allow their kids to hang around others they may benefit from. The saying “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”, is very tough but true.

I learned it the hard way that connections get you places and that there is no need to fight it. I remember the first time I realized it when I was about 24 years old and went to the bank to get with a credit application. As Gal and I sat down in the manager’s office, he looked at us like we were two young kids and said, “Never! I don’t know you and I can’t give you any credit”.

People like doing business with people they know. There is an assumed trust with someone you know. My dad had suggested he come with us to the bank, but I said, “No! It’s not supposed to be like that”. We both had salaries, we owned our home (and had a huge loan my dad had organized) and I was convinced the bank manager would look at the facts and understand we were a reliable couple, but he did not.

At one stage, I asked the bank manager, “Do you know my dad?”

He asked, “What’s your dad’s name?”

When I told him, he cried, “Why didn’t you say so? Sure, I’ll give you credit! Here, give me the form and I’ll sign it”

I was furious, but I realized my dad had built this connection for a long time and it was just wise for me to take advantage of it. I also realized I had to do the same for my children.

Much of our success in life depends on our ability to network and connect with other people. This is a very important skill that your kids will learn from you. It is almost a form of art.

In my leadership training, I tell the participants that good leaders have good networks and they build them like spiders. Every person they meet, they weave a web that connects them. This is true in life and in business. You connect with people and you both benefit from the relationship. Benefit does not have to be financial, it can be emotional, but as long as both sides benefit, the relationship will continue. This is a very important social skill to teach children – having a network of friends is important for their success and it based on “give and take”. In a good relationship, you cannot be a constant giver or a constant receiver.

Read more about how to help your kids develop networking skills

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