Networking and Connecting
Recently I was interviewed by Rich Steelman of e-Motion Mktg to share some tips on how to make better connections instead of contacts. I’m planning my next book around this topic, and this interview gives some insights into my thinking on it.
If you have a few minutes, I’d love it if you took the time watch and listen to the video and let me know what you think of the content in the comments on the article. If you’re reading this via e-mail, would you mind clicking on the headline and sharing your $.02?
Direct link to Connections Not Contacts video on YouTube
Thanks a bunch for your assistance and support!
I’m planning to make 2011 my best year ever. I’m making it my year of connections and of producing more great stuff instead of just having great ideas and not executing on many.
As I start the year, I thought of 3 questions that will help me make this my best year ever. I hope they help you too!
- Who do I need to connect with? There are so many people I’ve encountered over the past 15 years, some I’ve lost touch with and some I’ve kept in good contact with. I’ll also be meeting a ton of new people this year as I travel around the world speaking at companies and conferences and continue to work in the online world. It’s important for me to think about the types of people I need to connect with, in addition to the actual people I’ll connect to.
- What do I need to learn and/or unlearn? I’ve read a ton of books, and still subscribe to 1100 or so blogs via RSS (you can see what I share via Google Reader if you’re interested), and I have a TON more books in my office than I could ever hope to finish reading. I’ve learned a lot over the years, and I know there’s a lot more I have yet to learn. I also need to think about some habits I need to unlearn, from being in corporate America for the last 15+ years. I’ll share some of these insights with you as I find them, and I know there’s more to running my own business than I know right now.
- What do I need to share and with whom do I need to share it? This is one of my favorite questions, but yet it’s one I have a very hard time answering. to answer this best, I need to focus on what I am good at that other people need to know, and think about who can best benefit from my knowledge.
Answering those 3 questions can help make 2011 your best year ever. I hope they help you as you look at this being your best year ever.
What questions are YOU using to focus your efforts in 2011?
A few weeks ago I had the privilege of spending 2 days with the fine folks at 800-CEO-Read and 20 other outstanding individuals at their Author Pow Wow. If you’re an author, you really need to attend this next year.
After the event was over, we got a chance to hang out at the 8CR headquarters and shoot a 5 minute video about our big idea to change the world. Something I’ve learned is the importance of getting connected with your world, instead of just contacting as many people as you can.
What follows are my 3 tips for getting connected, in a 4 minute video. I hope it’s helpful for you.
If you don’t see the video, you can go directly to it here.
Question for you: What is YOUR best tip for connecting with folks? Please leave your insights in the comments box below. Thanks!
I just read the most helpful article ever about the right way to network, I had to share a link here with you.
Purposeful Networking is about the right way to connect with people, and I think it’s something everyone should print out and use in all their networking activities.
Take 10 minutes to read and print this article, then take time to actually DO what this article suggests.
What’s YOUR best networking tip?
I am really good at remembering names, but it isn’t a natural thing. I actually have a neat trick for remembering names, and if you’re bad with names, this might help you too. It’s called READ to remember names. I admit, I love acronyms, so this works for me very well.
R – Repeat. Repeat the name back to the person, try to do full name, and say it correctly, as soon as you hear it.
E – Examine the name. Think if you know anyone else with the name, and if so, try to relate a characteristic of this person to the other person you know. If it’s a unique name, try to see yourself spelling or writing the name down on a piece of paper. I actually type it in my mind, as I type 80 wpm. Picturing which fingers would depress the letters in their name is very helpful for me.
A – Ask about the name. If you’ve never heard of the name, ask about the origin. Ask if the name was given to them because of family history, or from a favorite aunt or uncle. Tell yourself the story in your head.
D – Deliver. Deliver the person to someone else in a room. Including their name, a small bit of the examination you did, a little of the story you heard, and then say the name again.
Do you have better ways of remembering names?
What questions do you have about remembering names?
A guest post from Brian Tracy, author of No Excuses!: The Power of Self-Discipline
Note from Phil: Brian Tracy was one of the first people I ever read who inspired me to take action and make the most of my life. His book Eat That Frog! gave me the nudge I needed to make it great and make the changes I needed to make to get to where I am today. His new book is on my must-read stack and what follows is an article inspired by this book. Enjoy!
We live in a society, and as a member of that society, it is likely that every change in your life is strongly influenced by other people in some way. The courses you take in school that shape your career are often at the instigation of a friend or counselor. The books you read, the tapes you listen to, and the seminars you attend are almost invariably the result of a suggestion from someone you respect.
The occupation you select, the job you take, and the key steps in your career are largely determined by the people you meet and talk to at those critical decision points in your life. In fact, at every crossroad in your life there is usually someone standing there pointing you in one direction or another.
According to the law of probabilities, the greater number of people you know who can help you at any given time, the more likely it is that you will know the right person at the right time and in the place to give you the help you need to move ahead more rapidly in your life. The more people you know, the more doors of opportunity will be open to you and the more sound advice you will get in making the important decisions that shape your life.
Dr. David McLelland of Harvard did a 25-year research study into the factors that contribute most to success. He found that, holding constant for age, education, occupation and opportunities, the single most important factor in career success is your "reference group." Your reference group is made up of the people with whom you habitually associate and identify. These are the people you live with, work with and interact with outside of your work. You identify with these people and consider yourself to be one of them. They consider you one of them as well.
When you develop a positive reference group, you begin to become a member of the in-crowd at your level of business. The starting point in this process is to develop a deliberate and systematic approach to networking throughout your career.
People like to do business with people they know. They like to socialize and interact with people with whom they are familiar. And they like to recommend people they trust. Fully 85% of the best jobs in America are filled as the result of a third party recommendation. The best networkers are never unemployed for very long.
One of the biggest mistakes that people make when they begin networking is scattering their time and energy indiscriminately and spending their time with people who can be of no help at all. Even if they attend organization meetings, they often end up associating with people who are neither particularly ambitious or well-connected.
When you network, you must be perfectly selfish. You want to become all you can over the course of your career. You want to rise as far as you can. Any success you could ever desire will require the active involvement and help of lots of other people. Your job is to focus your energies and attention on meeting the people who can help you and the only way you can do this is by staying away from the people who cannot help you at all.
When you network, your aim is to meet people who are going places in their lives. You want to meet people who are ahead of you in their careers and in their organizations. You want to meet people you can look up to with pride. You want to meet people who can be friends, guides and mentors. You want to think ahead and meet people who can help you move into your ideal future more readily. For this reason, you must sort people into categories: helpful vs. non-helpful, ambitious vs. non-ambitious, going somewhere vs. going nowhere. Remember, your choice of a reference group in your networking will determine the success of the process.
You begin your networking process at your place of work. Look around and identify the top people in your organization. Make these people your role models and pattern yourself after them. One of the best ways to start networking is to go to someone you admire and ask for his or her advice. Don’t be a pest. Don’t tie up several hours of their time. Initially you should ask for only a few minutes and you should have two or three specific questions. When you talk to a successful person, ask questions like, "What do you think is the most important quality or attribute that has contributed to your success?" and, "What one piece of advice would you give to someone like me who wants to be as successful as you some day?" You could also ask, "Can you recommend a particular book, tape, or training program that would help me move along more rapidly in my career?"
There is a law of incremental commitment in networking. It says that people become committed to helping you, or associating with you, little by little over time. In some cases the chemistry won’t be right and the person with whom you would like to network will really not be interested in networking with you. Don’t take this personally. People get into, or out of, networking for a thousand reasons. However, if there is good chemistry, if you like the person and the person likes you, be patient and bide your time. Don’t rush or hurry, just let the networking relationship unfold without over-eagerness on your part. If you try to go too fast, you will scare people away.
Instead of asking your superiors for more money, ask for more responsibility. Tell your boss that you are determined to be extremely valuable to the organization and that you are willing to work extra hours in order to make a more important contribution.
There is nothing so impressive to a boss as an employee who continually volunteers for more responsibility. Many people have the unfortunate goal of doing as little as possible for as much money as possible. But not the winners. The winners realize that if all you do is what you’re being paid for today, you can never be paid any more in the future. The person who continually volunteers for extra assignments and does more than is expected gains the respect, esteem and support of his or her boss.
Whenever you do something nice or helpful for others, they feel a sense of obligation. They feel like they owe you one. They have a deep subconscious need to pay you back until they no longer feel obligated to you. The more things you do for people without expectation of return, the more they feel obligated to help you when the time comes.
We have moved from the age of the go-getter to the age of the go-giver. A go-giver is a person who practices the law of sowing and reaping. He or she is always looking for opportunities to sow, knowing that reaping is not the result of chance. You will find that successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, "What’s in it for me?"
The surprising thing is that the more of yourself you give away with no direct expectation of return, the more good things come back to you in the most unexpected ways. In fact, it seems that the help we get in life almost invariably comes from people whom we have not helped directly. Rather, it comes from others who have been influenced by people whom we have helped directly. Therefore, since you can’t control where your help or assistance is coming from, you must establish a blanket policy of giving with complete confidence that it will come back to you in the most wonderful ways.
Whatever your job or occupation, there are trade and industry associations, business associations and service clubs that you can join. Excellent networkers are among the best known and most respected people in the community. To reach that status, they followed a simple formula. They carefully identified the clubs and associations whose members they can help and support and who can help and support them in return. And then they joined and participated.
When you look at the various organizations you should join, you should select no more than two or three. Target the ones with the people that can be the most helpful to you. When you join, your strategy should be to look at the various committees of the organization. Volunteer for the committee that engages in the activities that are most important to the organization, such as governmental affairs or fundraising. Then get fully involved in your chosen responsibilities.
You will find that the members of the key committees are usually key players in the business community as well. By joining the committee, you create an opportunity to interact with them in a completely voluntary and non-threatening way. You give them a chance to see what you can really do, outside the work environment. And you contribute to the committee as a peer, not as an employee or subordinate.
Remember, in any committee 20% of the people do 80% of the work. In any association, fully 80% of the members never volunteer for anything. All they do is attend the meetings and then go home. But this is not for you. You are determined to make your mark and you do this by jumping wholeheartedly into voluntary activities that move the association ahead. And the key people will be watching and evaluating you. The more favorable attention you attract, the more people will be willing to help you when you need them.
Networking fulfills one of your deepest subconscious needs — getting to know people and being known by them. It fulfills your need for social interaction and for the establishing of friendly relationships. It broadens your perspective and opens doors of opportunities for you. It increases the number of people who know and respect you. It makes you feel more in control of your career. And it can be one of the most exciting and fulfilling experiences of your life.
© 2009 Brian Tracy, author of No Excuses!: The Power of Self-Discipline
About the Author: Brian Tracy, author of No Excuses!: The Power of Self-Discipline, was born in eastern Canada in 1944 and grew up in California. After dropping out of high school, he traveled and worked his way around the world, eventually visiting eighty countries on six continents. His extensive personal studies in business, sales, management, marketing, and economics enabled him to become the head of a $265 million company before he turned his attention to consulting, training, and personal development. He is now the president of three companies with operations worldwide. He is married, has four children, and lives in San Diego, California.
No matter how many people you have in your network, it’s doubtful you’re working it as effectively as you can. I’ve developed a plan for working my network, and I gladly share it with you in hopes of helping you be a more-effective networker.
I recommend separating contacts every quarter into 4 numbered piles:
Here’s how I decide who goes in what pile:
80 – 80% will be people you barely know and others who you are unlikely to help, and who are unlikely to help you with what you need. As this is the largest number, it will also be your largest pile. Unless these the folks call me in the next 3 months, they will probably be move to the 0 pile. I try to contact them once in a while myself, but my expectations for anything happening are REALLY low.
Contact frequency: Every 6 months
19 – 19% of your contacts are good folks that you’ll help when you can, and who will help you if they can…if you ask. If you treat these folks right, they could make it into the 1% pile. You may want to send a handwritten note to these folks in hopes of rekindling the spark that was originally in the relationship, which could prompt moving them to the next pile.
Contact frequency: Every 5-7 weeks, or 2-3 touches a quarter.
1 – 1%. These are the best people in your network and are rare, perhaps as low as 1% of your contacts. These are people that help your business in any way they can. They’re the folks you call when you need help, and often, they call you when you need help before you know you need it. Take GREAT care of these folks and try to touch them often. Send them an e-mail, give them a call, leave a voicemail, whatever. Get in front of them!
Contact frequency: Every 3 weeks or more if relevant.
0 – Last is the 0 pile, zero meaning how much energy I recommend spending on these people. These are folks you know, but you haven’t talked to them in over 3 months. You may talk to them in the future, but you’re going to invest 0% of your mind space on them. Life is too busy to waste on the ones who fall into this pile. This pile may grow over time, and you may want to think about an annual email to catch up with them and see if they have any interest in what you are doing now.
Contact frequency: Annually, just to make sure you don’t lose them completely.
You can move folks between these piles as often as you wish. I recommend reviewing things quarterly at a maximum and annually at a minimum. If you’re not weeding through your network, you’re not feeding those that need to be fed, which means YOU’RE not eating enough either. Invest your time wisely, as it is the only finite resource you have to invest in your business.
Do you network by the numbers, or do you have some other solution in place? I’d love to hear if this is a workable system for you or if you have something else you use that works better for you.
June 3rd, 2009 at 6:30 PM Eastern/5:30 PM Central, I will be Joan Schramm’s guest on Career Momentum Radio. The topic of our talk is Network is Two Words: Winning the Networking Game. I’m going to discuss some of my favorite online and offline networking tips. If you miss the show, click back. It’ll be recorded for your listening pleasure.
For me, networking is a fun and useful thing to do. Networking is fun because I love people, and networking is useful because it’s helped me find a job, it helps me find answers I need to tough questions, and it helps me connect people together who might not otherwise be together.
What do you think about networking?
While I love social media to network online (favorites include LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter), I love even more networking offline. Networking offline allows me to deeped the connections I have, and create more new ones, faster and more effectively.
I’m an extrovert, and I get super energized when I get to hang with others who share their energy with me. I recognize not everyone is that way, but if you’re willing to step beyond your introversion and be a little bit out there, this article can help you network offline.
5 Simple Ways to Network Offline
Attend conferences – Going to a conference is a great way to find people who share an interest with you. Recently, I’ve attended the HDI Annual Conference and connected with almost 2000 passionate, dedicated help desk and service desk professionals. The first weekend of May I’ll be attending SOBCon in Chicago with 150 or so folks who are passionate about online publishing and blogging for business, something I want to learn a LOT more about. Another great type of conference is the “camp style” conference. Check out PhotoCamp Milwaukee for more about these types of conferences.
Send out notes and postcards – Quick questions: How many handwritten notes do you get in your mailbox every day? How about every week? OK, every year? My answer: NOT ENOUGH! I love to get handwritten notes and I’d bet you do too. So how many did you SEND out last week/month/year? I’m guilty too, but I do send a few, and when I do, folks LOVE getting them and they send me a note of thanks back. Send 1 or more this next week, and then make it a habit, or better yet, send one out every DAY and see what happens.
Share a cup of coffee or lunch – Recently I had a 4 hour layover in Phoenix, and rather than just sit in the airport and be bored, I coordinated a cup of coffee and lunch with my dear friend Pam Thomas (see above picture). We had a great conversation, we deepened our friendship, I still caught my flight, and it didn’t hurt one bit :) You can do the same thing at work, in your city, or whereever you’re going.
Attend or Organize a Meetup – Send an e-mail, a tweet, or whatever, to some of your friends and connect with them live at a local coffee shop, bar or restaurant. It’s even more fun if you ask your friends to invite one friend so you can meet someone new.
Attend a book or poetry reading or open mic night – Your local bookshop probably brings in authors or has an open mic night. Support an author, meet someone new, and learn something new…all at the same time!
What’s YOUR favorite way to network offline?
I’m always looking for new ways to connect with others in the limited time I have. Keith Ferrazzi author of the insightful book Never Eat Alone encourages us to maximize our workout time by working out with a potential client or friend. Sharing ideas while you’re at the gym is a great way to show you care about someone because you’re taking time that you’d normally be alone and sharing it with them, plus you’re showing you care enough to think about their health and well being. Great tip!
What’s really cool about Keith is he posts on his blog when and where he’ll be working out so you can connect up with him. I’m SO there if he ever gets to Milwaukee.