Monday, August 29, 2011

Do You Have a Networking Recipe?

Networking is just about going to events, right? Well, not exactly. Many would be networkers equate event attendance with networking. They invest months and even years going to events and are not able to make valuable connections. By viewing event attendance as networking these individuals are not evolving the relationships that they begin at events past the superficial level and hence are not creating the depth of relationship that meaningful exchange is based on.

Effective networking is built on three core activities: meeting people at events (or otherwise), meeting a subset of these people one-on-one, and then creating continued connection or follow-up. A good rule of thumb for how to balance these activities is:
  • 40%        attending events
  • 40%        one-on-one meetings
  • 20%        continuance or follow-up activities

Sunday, August 21, 2011

6 Degrees of Separation – Part II

Building Exchange

The goal of networking is the efficient connection to new and valuable knowledge and relationships. The exchange of valuable knowledge between individuals takes a moderate level of intimacy, while a meaningful exchange that builds relationships takes a greater level of trust. Most of us would not risk an important relationship on someone we do not know well. Networking success is predicated on participation, relating with specific individuals, developing a pool of knowledge, and then using that pool of knowledge to connect people who would benefit by meeting each other.

  1. Get involved - attend meetings
  2. Be open to interact with everyone
  3. Figure out who you need to get together with one-on-one
  1. Meet one-on-one with potential centers of influence in one anothers place of business
  2. Find common ground, follow up well, and build credibility

Build Knowledge
  1. Develop a strong understanding of the skills, capabilities, and needs of others
  2. Help others understand your skills, capabilities and needs

Relationship Exchange

Connect the people you are meeting (centers of influence, customers, prospects, and associates) to the relationships or relationship sources they are seeking.


The glue that connects and cements each of these 4 stages is the sincerity with which we engage and assist others. Respond to others' requests to meet and return all calls and corresepondence quickly. Doing this consistently fuels your networking engine.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

6 Degrees of Separation – Part I

You’re Closer than You Think!

The leverage of networking is truly miraculous. Most people think you have to have a large network to be effective. Nothing could be further from the truth. You need to know your network well to be effective. Having intimate high quality relationships with few will always trump having a large quantity of superficial relationships with many. 

Each networker's understanding of degrees of separation can have a dramatic affect on their ability to leverage the relationships that they create. The basic rule of degrees of separation suggests that we are not more than 6 people removed from meeting anyone in the world. It is not only important to build deeper trust relationships with the people you know, but it is also important to understand who they know. 

Assumptions of the Six Degrees of Separation:
  1. Each of us has trust/advocating relationships with at least 100 people (think beyond your business relationships to family, friends, etc.). This personal grouping of relationships is called our individual Sphere of Influence.
  2. A minimum of ½ of our sphere of influence will know at least 50 people we do not know but would in some way benefit from knowing.
  3. As we contact and develop relationships with the people to whom we are introduced by those in our sphere of influence, we are able to leverage those relationships to additional levels of separation.
  4. By the time we reach the 6th degree of separation, we will more than reach everyone in the world. Keep in mind that the world population is 6 billion +.
Starting with the hundred people that we know well, we are able to quickly connect out to key individuals and resources. Build your network by building your intimacy!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

How do I get started?

This is one of the most frequent questions that people ask about networking. The question usually comes as an individual considers where to go as they stand at the threshold of a room of people networking. Should I get some food, a drink, talk to people who I know, scan name badges for a company or person of interest or stand on the perimeter and wait for someone to approach me?

Would you ever get in your car and not know where you are going to get out? Not very often. Normally, we not only know our destination when we get in our car, but we also know the route that we are going to take turn-by-turn. So how is it then that we frequently enter a room full of people with no sense of direction or destination?

Imagine how much easier it will be to “get started” when you have a destination and route.