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April 28, 2014

Networking for Results

When it comes to networking, size matters. Networking success requires us to build mutually supportive relationships and that requires an investment of our attention, time, and effort. If your network is too big, it becomes impossible to effectively use it; if it is too small, you restrict business opportunities. Like the story of Goldilocks, you want to build a network that is just the right size.shutterstock_120558493

  • What is the maximum number of connections you can comfortably support? If you want to do it yourself, experts believe that most people can handle between 150 and 250 relationships in a meaningful way. If you want to be a super networker and connector, you will need help managing the numbers!
  • Choose a variety of people to add to your network. Go beyond your industry and form relationships with professionals in noncompeting businesses. This gives you access to new resources and new, potential opportunities.
  • Make connections. Malcolm Gladwell in The Tipping Point calls out what he refers to as “Connectors.” They are the six-degree-of-separation people who can connect you to just about anyone. You don’t have to be a super connector like the people Gladwell mentions in his books; rather, just be open and willing to help others by connecting them with people you know. The more bridges you build between the people in your network, the stronger your influence.

Think quality, not quantity when it comes to networking. Visibility counts, so show up and be present. Commit to devoting a certain amount of time to cultivating relationships to ensure your networking is rewarding—and fun!

Hate the thought of networking? See my blog post Networking Tips for Shy People.

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