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We’ve all heard that it’s not what you know, but who you know that’s important. The multiplier effect of having a robust network of people that know your skill set can have a profound impact on your career trajectory. It’s like having additional eyes and ears scanning for new opportunities.

As we enter the holiday season and begin thinking about resolutions for the coming year, I’d like to suggest a new view on the professional connections in your life.

Instead of being the on the receiving end of these connections (i.e. being the “connectee”), I’d like to advocate for greater emphasis on being the “connector.”

In The Art of the Start, Guy Kawasaki talks about being a “Mensch”, and the intrinsic joy derived from helping your fellow man. As you make the rounds at holiday parties and encounter networking opportunities in 2013, instead of entering these situations with the view of what it may yield for you, strike up a conversation based solely on what you might provide the other person. Bonus points if this person doesn’t appear to have anything to offer in return.

Writer Samuel Johnson once said, “The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.” Take this perspective with your professional connections, current and future, and you will reap the benefits.

Kyle DeBord, Business Development Manager, Ann Arbor SPARK