In order to get results when networking online (for example, on LinkedIn) as well as offline, you need to take into account some fundamental principles. To be a really successful networker, adhere to the “golden triangle” of networking.

The three points of the triangle are:

1. Give or Share. Ask yourself what you can give or share with other people. One of the best ways to build a relationship with someone is to share something. For many people this is a hard concept because they think in terms of lack rather than abundance. They may think that if they give something away, they no longer have it themselves.

Though that might be true for physical objects, we live more and more in a knowledge society (especially in the Western world). When you share information or knowledge (like I’m doing with you now) you don’t lose it. We both get to benefit from having it.

2. Ask. When networking, it is important to ask other people for their help. This is where the power of the network resides: getting help from other people. People enjoy helping others, especially if it doesn’t cost them any money and only a small amount of time. The biggest problem is that sometimes we don’t know how to help other people. So help other people to help you and tell them what you are looking for. Ask for help.

3. Thank. Most of us do thank people when we’ve received something or when someone has delivered a solution to a problem. But do we always thank people when we do not get something? Do you always thank people when they take the time to look for a solution but don’t find one? Or when they just take the time to just listen to you? And do you thank them again when months later you do get the job or the project, the one they helped you to get by connecting you with the right person?

Take the golden triangle into account when dealing with your network and you are bound to see results.

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Jan Vermeiren is the founder of Networking Coach, author of the best-sellers “Let’s Connect!” and “How to REALLY use LinkedIn” and a well-known international networking and referrals speaker. For more information, go to his blog at http://www.janvermeiren.com/.