Heather Townsend, Guest Author
My personal network numbers into the thousands. Indeed with over 5000 twitter followers I can genuinely claim a network of over 5000+ people. However, not everyone in my network is created equal – and we often fool into thinking that we have a strong network, when actually we have many contacts rather than genuine strong connections.
Level 1: “Identify” ~ At this level, you have just become aware of this contact. Maybe, someone has mentioned them in conversation, perhaps you have seen a tweet of them. Or perhaps they are on an attendance list of an event you are attending.
Level 2: “Connect” ~ At this point you have physically or virtually met a contact, and started a one or two way conversation, i.e. you have connected. For example, you may have talked to them at a face to face networking event, or exchanged some tweets or posts within an online forum.
Level 3: “Engage” ~ At this point, you have taken a conscious decision to strengthen the relationship, and move beyond small talk. This means that you have taken the time to have a one to one meeting with them, whether in person, or by phone.
Level 4: “Collaborate” ~ The trust has built within the relationship to the point where you have agreed to help each other, pass referrals, and potentially actively looking for ways to work together.
Level 5: “Inner Circle” ~ The relationship is now such that you have worked together, and regularly recommend each other’s services. There is a strong possibility that your relationship has moved from a purely professional relationship into a personal friendship.
Think about people in your network who you consider to be your A-listers or potential clients. Your relationship needs to be at least at Level 3.
Copyright © 2013 – Heather Townsend. Heather helps professionals and firms become the Go-To-Expert. Unusually for someone with an Engineering Degree, she accidentally became a writer and used her knowledge on social media to write the current best-selling and award-winning book on networking, “The Financial Times Guide To Business Networking.” (75 five star reviews on Amazon). She is a widely published writer, international speaker, Executive Coach and a referral marketing expert. Visit Heather’s Website!
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