Connect with your fans – the others in your network. Engaging daily with your community is the quickest and most effective way to build trust and credibility and to create meaningful relationships between brands and people through their passions using creativity, media and technology.
Face-to-face is best, however the point is… you need to engage with others in your network on a regular basis – not only at your networking meeting, but outside of the meeting too. Some networkers are more effective than others and enjoy it more than others. Some people do it with deliberation and others wander aimlessly through the process. It’s important to have some specific intentions about connecting otherwise it generally doesn’t happen. Savvy networkers have a strategy. They are the happy people who seem to be focused, dedicated and on target. The result of intentional networking is greater profits and increased business.
Many people are turned off with the thought of networking. To me, that’s sad. I am constantly thinking of new ways to connect and collaborate with others. Collaboration strengthen your alliances. Close allies are a very important part of networking – more important to me than the often futile efforts of continuing to make new connections. While that is important, we sometimes forget the ones closest to us – the ones that have helped us in the past and are willing to continue to surprise us with inovative ideas, etc. I would rather have 10 reliable networkers that I engage with often than 50 new cards to follow-up with and “hope” a new relationship will blossom. Those are the weak ties that distract you from your mission of active engagement.
“The best way to engage with new people is not by cold calling or by “networking” with strangers at cocktail parties, but by working with the people you already know.” ~ Reid Hoffman, co-author of “The Start-Up of You.”
You can best strengthen an existing relationship by doing something for the other networker. Actively look for creative ways to help someone else before you attempt engagement. Have a plan. Think of networking as a puzzle you’re piecing together. What need does someone else have and how can you use your resources to fill that gap?
When you finish reading this article, take a few moments and make a brief list of the five people you are closest to and evaluate the strength of those collaborations.
I have found that it is important to me to spend less engagement with those who always wait for me to make the first move – to call, to have lunch, etc. In other words, if the engagement is not reciprocal, I move on and begin spending more time with others where the reciprocal spirit is alive, creative and active.
Sometimes I will continue the engagement/relationship if there is benefit from brain-storming ideas, knowing that that type of collaboration is important too. Another thought is to stay engaged not because they can be a great resource at the moment, but because of the other people in their network that might be beneficial to me in the future. Remember… six degrees of separation works.
Six degrees of separation is the idea that everyone is six or fewer steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world, so that a chain of “a friend of a friend” statements can be made to connect any two people in a maximum of six steps. It was originally set out by Frigyes Karinthy and popularized by a play written by John Guare.
Copyright © 2013 – Larry James. Adapted from Larry’s latest book, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Networking Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”
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