Connection Point October Networking
ATD Blog

Three Effective Networking Strategies from Maryland’s Former Top General

Monday, February 1, 2021

In a conversation about career advancement strategies, former Maryland Adjutant General Linda Singh shared three important points about effective networking that every public sector employee needs to hear.

Point #1: Strategic Networking With Difficult People

When I asked Linda how she builds relationships with difficult people, she shared an interesting point. First, if the relationship is being developed to accomplish a specific goal, she reminds herself that she doesn’t need to like the person to work with them. This is an important point. Too many people believe that liking someone is a prerequisite to building an effective relationship.

I don’t like you, and you don’t like me. Great!

Even though liking the person you’re in a relationship with may be nice, it is far from required. Relationships can be built on foundations such as a mutual respect, a common goal, or even a common enemy. Singh recommended investing the time necessary to find commonality when working with difficult people.


One of the most effective networking strategies I use when working with difficult people is to find something I value or respect about that person. I can respect their position, their level of influence, their life experiences, or their expertise. I can also value their thought process, the skills they bring to the table, or the passion they exude when they stand their ground. The truth is, every person brings something of value to the table despite their likability. But if you can’t find anything you value in that person, I encourage you to engage in some self-introspection, asking yourself why you are not able to find value or something positive in the person you seek to develop relationships.


Point #2: How to Choose the Right Contacts

You will interact with hundreds of people every year. However, unless you are a fortune teller, you have no way of knowing who can or will help you reach your career and personal development goals. Maybe it’s the executive that seems to receive a new award every other week on LinkedIn, the entry level employee who nervously reached out to you for career advice, or anyone else in-between. So, what do you do to find out who is the one? How do you know which person will have a profound impact on your life? How do you choose the right person so you can pour your valuable and limited time and energy into them?

Linda’s recommendation is simple. Be respectful, kind, helpful, and above all, present in every interaction. The person you’re speaking with may or may not be the one to change your life, but taking this approach will build your reputation as someone who values everyone regardless of their status. In addition, more people will want to meet you and help you reach your personal and professional development goals. And, do you know who likes to be valued? Everyone. If this sounds too sentimental, just remember that world renowned experts on relationship building (such as Adam Grant and Rob Brown) have conducted extensive research on the topic and have found that it works. But there’s a critical caveat. Although you should be respectful and present during every interaction, all interactions are not created equal. Click here to learn how and why you must prioritize the people and interactions in your life if you want to reach your career goals.

Point #3: Value Yourself and Your Time

The third strategy Linda shared aligns with the core of the C4 Strategic Networking model, which is explained in my Strategic Networking for Public Sector Professionals course. To hear her expand on this strategy, listen to the full interview here.

About the Author

Alex D. Tremble is an award-winning speaker, author, and expert in developing, navigating, and maintaining difficult, complex, and strategic, relationships. Additionally, Alex has over 10 years of experience coaching and advising some of our nation’s most senior level leaders, developing and facilitating organizational leadership developing programs, and is the host of The Alex Tremble Show. The Alex Tremble Show provides ambitious leaders with the leadership and career advancement skills required to excel as senior and executive leaders.

Alex began his career managing three government-wide senior leadership development programs, and quickly went on to establish the Tremble Influence Academy, while publishing two bestselling books ("Reaching Senior Leadership: 10 Growth Strategies Every Government Leader Should Know” and “The GPS Guide to Success”) geared towards helping leaders gain influence and attain career success. Alex is a Leadership Center for Excellence 40 under 40 honoree and also serves as the Chief Culture Officer for America’s second largest national conservation corps, American Conservation Experience. Alex is passionate and committed to helping our nation’s leaders reach their highest potential; personally, and professionally. Alex received his Bachelor's degree in sociology and psychology from William Penn University and his Master's degree in industrial and organizational psychology from the University of Baltimore. Please visit to gain the tools and strategies you need to reach your leadership and career goals.

Be the first to comment
Sign In to Post a Comment
Sorry! Something went wrong on our end. Please try again later.