“Matchmaker, Matchmaker, make me a match. Find me a find. Catch me a catch.” Feel free to sing along; come on, you know you know the lyrics.

Did we suddenly fall into the middle of a Fiddler On The Roof performance? No, you needn’t change the channel. We’re still here talking about networking. How though, does introductionbeing a matchmaker relate to networking, if at all?

Building a strong network of connections is good for business, right? Won’t this will allow me easier access to more people who may be potential clients, customers or employers? Being a savvy businessperson, I already know the answer to that question, so let me get started right away by making sure my connections know about my products, website, skills, services, unique pricing structure,? and list of highly-placed references. Gosh, I wonder how long it will take before the results and profits comes rolling in.

Obviously, I’m being facetious here, but don’t we all know people who seem to take this approach?? The “me first” approach isn’t successful in winning friends and gaining trust in any aspect of life, so why would we expect different results when it comes to our business networking efforts? A network of people who don’t know and trust us is nothing more than a collection of business cards which are destined to collect dust in the corner of our desk; completely useless.

Earning the trust of those in your network only begins to happen when thinking of their needs before our own and offering assistance where possible to help them more easily succeed in meeting their own goals. One of the many ingredients in a successful networking strategy is to facilitate introductions among and between people? in your network.? You know that Joe, one of your LinkedIn connections, is very interested in learning how his company might be able to use Second Life as an innovative platform for training its employees worldwide. You also know that Maria, with whom you recently connected, has a great deal of experience working with companies interested in using Second Life for training and advertising purposes. Why not offer to introduce them to one another – even if they haven’t asked you to do so? Imagine how you might feel if one of your contacts reached out to connect you with someone who might be a valuable resource to you for no other reason than to help you succeed. Would you appreciate such a gesture? Would you remember it?

On LinkedIn, our network is clear. We are either connected to someone or we’re not. LinkedIn has a well defined process for facilitating introductions. On Twitter, the connections are less clear because it isn’t necessary for both parties to mutually agree to the connection. How then do we tell others about about a Twitterer we feel would be worthy of the attention of our network (a.k.a. followers, in Twitter-speak)?? One way to do this would be to post a message (a.k.a. tweet) including the name of the person we feel is consistently bringing valuable content, along with the reason for your endorsement. If we all tag our tweets with #favpeep, it will be easy to track these recommendations and find wonderful, new people to add to our own network. An important side note would be that this should never be used for increasing numbers of followers or connections. Doing so only serves to dilute the intended purpose and does not reflect well upon the person making the introduction or endorsement.

Which of your connections would benefit from knowing others in your network? Are you prepared to share why you feel the connection would be to their benefit, rather than your own?

So, what do you think? Are you ready to be a networking matchmaker?