The Story Behind the Business Pay It Forward Concept Known As NetWeaving

In early 2000 I began presenting nationally about a new form of networking that is based on the Golden Rule, which states that you should help other people first in order to receive. Something amazing happened.

In early 2000 I began presenting nationally about a new form of networking that is based on the Golden Rule, which states that you should help other people first in order to receive. Something amazing happened.

Actually this ‘new’ concept I had created. . .”NetWeaving”. . .wasn’t really new at all. Persons like Arthur Blank, co-founder of Home Depot, owner of the Atlanta Falcons, in his testimonials expressed the sentiments of many who learn about the concept, skill sets, and action steps: “I’ve been doing this my whole life. I just never had a word for it.”

There are three skill sets taught by NetWeaving, each of which ask you to listen differently than you would in the more familiar networking mindset. When talking with someone under the networking concepts, your goal is to discover if the person is a good prospect for you, or if they can help you in some way or may be a good prospect. In general, this isn’t a bad thing, after all it is normal to want to look out for you and your businesses best interests. However, we have found, and our hypothesis has been proven again and again, that just as in nature it is the symbiotic relationships that are most powerful and get passed on rather than those based on survival of the fittest. As time goes on (and sometimes much faster than you’d expect), your “Netweaving” applications will perform far better than the more self focused traditional networking. This often happens in surprising ways you won’t believe until you have experienced “NetWeaving” for yourself.

The practice of NetWeaving consists of learning how you can (1) get better at connecting other people; (2) provide resources for other people with no strings attached; and (3) build a resource network of dependable people who are know as the best in their chosen field or industry.

Soon after NetWeaving began entering the business world in the early 2000’s, the movie “Pay it Forward” which was based on a book by the same name had just been released. In the movie, Trevor, a 7th grader played by Haley Joel Osment, responded to his teacher’s challenge to conceive something that could change the world. Approaching the blackboard, he drew a series of small circles which represented people – and each was connected with lines. The concept he was trying to convey was that when someone does a favor for you, instead of “paying it back” to the person, you should “pay it forward” by helping three other people. Those three people would do the same, and so on, and so on.

The key action step, in addition to the 3 skills sets for NetWeaving mentioned earlier, is the hosting of meetings in which you endeavor to introduce two people to each other. After discovering various ways that they could help each other in their businesses, one or even both of those people would then ask their host how they could return the favor. My response was always to ask those folks to PIOTTO (pass it on to two others).

You might have already guessed the punch-line by now. After some of my talks on NetWeaving, it began happening more and more often that someone would come up and say, “You know your concept is a lot like the movie ‘Pay It Forward’.”

I heard so much about the movie that I finally rented it, which led me to read the book it was based on by Catherine Ryan Hyde. After seeing the synergy between NetWeaving and the Pay it Forward concept, I contacted Ms. Ryan who agreed and has allowed me to refer to NetWeaving as the business adaptation of Pay it Forward. In fact, I was also invited to serve as the first outside President on the board for the Pay it Forward Foundation, who’s mission is to spread the Pay It Forward goal throughout the world. And this year looks like we will reach the Tipping Point toward that goal under the direction of it’s new President Charley Johnson.

And guess what? So is NetWeaving as I am just launching the first “NetWeaving Ambassador” certification programs to train others how to teach NetWeaving and ‘pay it forward’ so as to create an army of coaches, trainers, consultants, or anyone involved in business development out their spreading the good word. I hope to make the two motto’s of NetWeaving a reality for people to discover as I certainly have: First, “Good things happen to those people who MAKE good things happen.” And secondly, “When you open the door for someone else, you never know who YOU will meet as a result”. That’s because what goes around, truly does come back around.

Bob Littell is a business networking speaker who illustrates a unique strategic approach for establishing and nurturing trusted relationships which he calls NetWeaving, based on the pay it forward concept. He is one of the many talented business networking speakers you will find on