My adventures in networking started four years ago. I didn't know what to do. I watched self-proclaimed experts and saw lack of genuine caring, little value offered, a big desire for quick payoffs and little follow-up.That approach didn't feel right. My idealism said that networking was about helping others first.
I read books like Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi but they didn't click either. There was an element of my-database-is-bigger-than-yours. What about quality? Some coaches mentioned Rolodexes or PalmPilot organizers. Who uses them anymore? Maybe the content was out-dated too.
A Higher GoalI wanted to master the art of forging lasting relationships with strangers without the hassle of meeting first. Why not? Arranged marriages take place.
Case StudyI started networking to my standards. That works. Once I became familiar with LinkedIn, I started reaching out to "good" strangers. A year ago, I sent an invitation to master networker, Paul Nazareth. I wasn't sure if he'd agree because his profile sets conditions. This enforced scarcity was intriguing. He soon connected. Victory!
Paul confirmed that reaching out to strangers can work. That was enough, but I got much more once we started meeting. I wanted to aid philanthropic efforts but I didn't know what to do. What I saw others do didn't feel right.
Paul is deeply immersed in the world of giving and frank. That combination gave quick insights that saved me years of fumbling. His introductions instantly opened doors, which also saved years.
I was also able to help Paul too and got the Golden Crab Award.
CONNECTIONSOn LinkedIn, a stranger is more likely to connect if you share high calibre contacts. As your network grows, your connections introduce you some of their connections. That's a virtuous, expanding spiral.
When you reach out to a complete stranger, you're taking a risk. Yet we know risk accompanies rewards. Since networking is about who knows you, a widespread, diverse network of loose connections works best.
Who knows who you'll meet?
- Three ways to master networking events
- Adventures in Networking blog (Paul Nazareth)
- A proven way to expand your LinkedIn network
- How to market to your network
- image courtesy of Ana Belen (Spain)
PS How are your adventures in networking?