A Networking Story
Last Sunday, we released the announcement for SOBcon 07. It’s a relationship bloggers’ event. We lived our message. We reached out to our friends for help in spreading the news — if they believed the event was worth talking about on their blogs. Most everyone we asked to help has blogged about the event. We’re so grateful.
When we reached out to the folks to ask their help, something happened behind the scenes. Certain people I wrote emailed me back almost immediately. A few called or skyped. They had questions about the event. Those people, all friends and colleagues, contacted me for one of these reasons.
- They knew the people involved, and offered congratulations.
- They asked for more information upon which to make their decision.
In networking terms, their friendship, influence, and credibility and my friendship, influence, and credibility were talking to each other.
The 5-Point Strategy to Building a Powerful Network
Networks of people can be powerful influencers. A network of influencers expands our knowledge and our reach by engaging the power of “WE.” The problem is that networks take time to build and require attention.
You might have heard “It’s not what you know, but who you know.”
That’s not exactly true.
A powerful network requires two qualities: limited size to keep it sleek and easy to interact with, and people of like mind so that their connections and your connections are likely to be of the same quality.
Here is the 5-point strategy to build that powerful network.
- What you know is important. Learn as much as you can. Know what you know. Know its value. Don’t over value it. Don’t under value it. Understand how common or rare your knowledge and skill set are.
- Networks are built from relationships. Address books are filled with contacts. Relationships grow and expand as they age. They also require time and interaction to be of value. To build a top-notch network of people, choose people you would bet your reputation on — people who have your standards and similar goals. They will always connect to other people that you want to know.
- Who knows what you know is important. Read that again. Who knows what you know is important.Do you know the influencers in your market? Find ways to share your expertise with people who have influence. Influencers naturally talk about people who are great at what they do. Influencers are often asked for recommendations. How might you offer them a service that would put you on the edge of their network?
- Take an interest and be the first to offer a favor. When you meet someone of quality, ask questions, listen actively, and be the first to give a favor without strings. People remember sincere curiosity and true generosity, especially the first time it happens. Make friendships and relate positively to everyone that you meet.
- Listen for when a mentor appears, and welcome him or her gladly. Mentors are hard to find when we’re looking. They find us and show themselves by offering advice or wisdom to see whether we recognize it. Don’t miss (or mistake) the mentors who will come your way, offering their experience and connections. They see something in you.
These five points will lead to a network that is more powerful than most folks develop. It will be a group of people within the larger group of folks we know — a network built from relationships that are thoughtfully matched. Not everyone we meet is a lifelong friend. We already knew that.
Why am I thinking of kissing frogs and a prince?
–ME “Liz” Strauss
If you think Liz can help you find focus or direction, check out the Personal Virtual Manager on Work with Liz!! page.