Learn how to elevate your networking skills from being merely good to becoming a power connector, someone who not only builds networks for personal gain but strives to maximize opportunities for everyone involved.
In today’s complex world, strategic relationships are crucial for personal success, influencing judgments about identity and social status.
A powerful network provides access to information, contacts, and opportunities that can set you apart.
Build strategic relationships
Strategic relationships are vital for personal success. In a complex world, isolation is not an option. Building relationships that offer mutual value through information, contacts, and resources is essential. Your network defines your identity and social status. Belonging to a powerful network is like being part of a respected street gang – it commands attention and respect. A strong network provides access to privileged information and resources. Assess the strength of your strategic network through questions about the proportion of strategic relationships, the quality of communication, and having a plan to connect with desired individuals.
The 5+50+100 rule
Identify the most important connections in your network. Power connectors excel at bringing people and networks together for mutual benefit. Organize your relationships into rings – the Top 5, Key 50, and Vital 100 – with the most important at the center. Prioritize relationships based on frequency of contact and value addition. This categorization serves as the foundation for strategic relationship planning.
Diversify and deepen your network
Break out of your comfort zone to create a wide, deep, and robust network. Seek diversity in age, industry, and interests to drive innovation and creativity. A wide network provides varied perspectives, a deep one offers multiple avenues to achieve goals, and robustness ensures responsiveness. Embrace differences to connect with people who can introduce you to new opportunities.
Choose the right environment for your network
Identify centers of power or ecosystems in your industry or area of interest. These ecosystems facilitate connections and opportunities. Assess who you want to meet, what you offer, and if you align with the target ecosystem. Your family, friends, and local community are also valuable ecosystems. Volunteer work introduces you to diverse individuals.
Use a four-phase system
Preparation and targeting are crucial in power connecting. Use a four-phase system: preparation, targeting, reconnecting, and connecting your connections. Assess your skills and contacts, categorize accomplishments, and create a plan. Identify a target person and prepare for the initial encounter. Dress appropriately, initiate contact following the Marriott 15/5 rule, and prepare for phases three and four.
Nurture your relationships
Follow up and connect your connections for maximum impact. Reconnect within 24 hours to show you care and are adept at communication. Send a thank-you email, add value, and share information about your work. Nurturing relationships with genuine interest is key. Connect your connections to create power triangles, serving multiple individuals and strengthening your network.
Utilize social media strategically
Leverage platforms like LinkedIn to expand and strengthen your network. Introduce people who could benefit from connecting but ensure compatibility. Each social media channel has its strengths – email provides context, Twitter connects you to experts, and face-to-face contact remains essential.
Building a strong network is essential in today’s complex business landscape. Transition from a skilled networker to a power connector by focusing on strategic relationships, identifying key connections, diversifying and deepening your network, choosing the right environment, and utilizing social media effectively. Preparation, targeting, follow-up, and connecting your connections are crucial phases in power connecting.
Inspired by a book “How to Be a Power Connector”; Judy Robinett