Six Ideas to Better Networking

It truly is - who you know, that makes all the difference. Networking is one of those vital skills you must have. And a GREAT NETWORK becomes the venue you need to make a difference. Here are SIX IDEAS to ramp up your networking.

Just do it.

Every week you need a certain number of hours of strategic networking. I can't give you a number. Some people need 2 hours a week, others may need 10 hours a week. It depends on how strong your network already is, it depends on how well you are using your network, it depends on how crucial networking is for your core work.

'It is not the most connected person, it is the best connected person that matters.'

This is a slight edit of a thought from Ben Casnocha. It is not how BIG your network is. That is the sheer number of friends, acquaintances, contacts, etc. It is not just about getting more Facebook Friends, or hitting the 500+ number on LinkedIn. What matters is how GOOD your network is and how well you are using it.

So what do you do with your network?
First - you maintain meaningful contact with them. Sharing valuable insights and absorbing theirs. Short, brief comments to stay connected, but not time or attention wasters. Second - you draw on their resources. Learn from them, ask questions of them, grow together with them. Make your Network a Learning Community. Wow. Yes. Really. What you had for breakfast...! That you are stuck in a traffic jam...! That you liked the latest episode of Breaking Bad...! One of the sad facts of social media connectedness is the endless proliferation of mind-numbing trivia. That is not what you do with your network. Do something worthwhile with it.

Make it diverse.

Find interesting and different people from yourself. Stretch, expand, diversify and branch out. Ask interesting questions of people. If they are worthwhile and genuine, you may be surprised at who responds back. 

Help others as much as you can.

This is a Seth Godin idea that is simply brilliant. Sow seeds of best ideas, practices, resources, and help as much as you can. You have to give a lot away. Be generous, add value, share freely. When you make a contribution and a real difference, your own worth as a connection grow large.

Finally, be a connector.

Introduce your connections to other connections that will benefit them. We are Leadership ConneXtions for a reason. We love to get our friends and partners connected with one another. We love to share the "relational wealth" of knowledge and love that our friends and partners have. Together we are always stronger, better, wiser, more enduring, and together we will bear much fruit that lasts.  Remember, when Jesus gave that instruction in John 15, he gave it to a team of disciples, and not just to individuals.

These are six ideas. I make no claim that they are even the best ideas. But they are a start. What are your "best practices" of social networking that you would add to this list? Drop a note in the comment section.

Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International