Far too often, people are dead wrong about networking. I asked one professional attending a networking event what he hoped to achieve. He replied, “I’m going to win business!” That’s pretty aggressive—even for me.

Whether your ultimate networking objective is to win the account, vie for the position, or earn the plum assignment, I recommend you apply what I call the networking principle of nudge in order to dramatically increase your success.

I’m talking about a series of small agreements, not one colossal, earth-shattering, cosmic “YES!” People often can be persuaded most effectively when shepherded along easily, not yanked through the streets...