I was cleaning out my office tonight when I came across a small book of quotes by the inestimable Jim Rohn. I was flipping through it and reading a line or two at random when I came upon this one:

Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying basic fundamentals.

How wonderfully true that line is in any area of our lives, but particularly so in the case of networking.

Networking is all about the relationships we build. That development must happen over time. I don’t care how skillfully or intensely you practice your networking techniques, you just cannot achieve the “Trust” level in the first meeting. That result comes only after consistent interaction over the course of weeks or months — maybe even years.

In fact, think about how you would feel if someone tried to make “instant friends” with you. Would you feel like they were imposing on you? Would you respond positively? Probably the best they could hope for would be your pity, because they are obviously desperate.

And desperation is rarely the basis for a strong relationship.

So, as good networkers, we need to practice our skills every day. Even if we’re overwhelmed with work — even if we aren’t feeling well — we still need to do some little thing so that we never have gaps where we aren’t working to help our network succeed — or at least taking an interest in who they are and what they need.