The most efficient way to expand your network is to trade networks with someone else. How big is your network? If you answered infinite, you’re right. At this writing, you’re limited only by the number of people on this planet. And that’s  if you don’t count pets. I know several veterinarians who have made a very good living by being extra nice to the right dogs.

But even if you limit it to humans, your network is potentially the size of all your contacts, plus all your relatives’ contacts, your friends’ contacts, your business associates’ contacts, and so on.

Say you have to send out a mailing to advertise a charity event or introduce a new service you have to offer. Are you going to limit the list to just those names you’ve been able to scrape together? Of course not. You’ll ask for my list, and if I like the offer I might even ask a few other people for theirs. Instead of a few hundred names, now you have a few thousand.

A word of warning. Remember to treat anyone’s contacts with the utmost respect. Like tightrope walking, this is a system based on balance and trust. A fall from grace, like a fall from the high wire, can be very hard to recover from.

Mackay’s Maxim: When two people exchange dollar bills, each has only one dollar. When two people exchange networks, they each have two networks.

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About the author Harvey Mackay

Seven-time, New York Times best-selling author of "Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive," with two books among the top 15 inspirational business books of all time, according to the New York Times. He is one of America’s most popular and entertaining business speakers, and currently serves as Chairman at the MackayMitchell Envelope Company, one of the nation’s major envelope manufacturers, producing 25 million envelopes a day.

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