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I get a surprise every day with just how connected people are. Perhaps it should be no surprise at all. Networking with people is a big part of my job and my lifestyle, both online and offline, but it still amazes me on a regular basis. More amazing yet is that there are still ways to improve upon that connectivity. Here are just a few of my thoughts on the matter, and I welcome yours.
Being Interested Makes You Interesting
Consider how many times you have received a message from somebody on Twitter, Facebook, your blog, or elsewhere and found yourself reading over their latest news to be sure you are up to speed on their life. An amazing thing about social networking and life in general is that people who are interested immediately become more interesting. You can bet that if you add your comments on my blog, I am interested, and you have made another step to strengthening your network. Not only with me, but also with others who connect here. It is a perfect case of becoming more interesting by being interested.
I got to thinking about this as I added the meebo chat on my blog earlier today (over on the left side). It allows for people to start a direct chat with me. I did this because I am interested in what readers have to say, and I want to give them another option to reach me. Try it now by typing a message to me. I may just answer. It is pretty cool, and another way to be even more connected.
I think nearly every blog author wants to start a dialog, but some people are too shy to give their opinion in public, too lazy, or just don’t understand the benefits of blog commenting (like the conversation, or those extra incoming links to their Website). Whatever the reasons, a direct chat is another great connection tool.
OK, so now that you are more interesting, let’s look at how connected you are. Once you realize how connected you already are, it is easier to find ways to make it even better … and why!
Realize How Connected You Are
I keep finding that people know a lot about me. Some will call it “transparency”, and I am all about that. I try to be sure that people know who I am … just me, without any false hype. People like people, so I don’t try to be any more than that. Being genuine seems to be a huge benefit if you are trying to connect with people. Even if you do not think you are very interesting, you are plenty interesting to some people, just the way you are.
Now that you are interesting, look around and see how much people recognize you. They may be noticing you more than you think! Those people who find you interesting are the roots of your network. I will give you examples:
Just a couple days ago I was talking with my brother and he asked me about things I didn’t expect him to even know. He asked if my wife was upset that I uploaded a video of her karaoke performance. David is not all that technology oriented, and does not spend a lot of time on Facebook. However, he does have a Facebook account, along with about 350,000,000 other people. Even if he does not check his Facebook, his wife, kids, or somebody else who knows me may ask him about something relevant to my current life or even tell him something that I had mentioned in my social networks. I also hear similar things from people all around me who seem to know a lot about my daily life, and I know theirs. We are connected!
Another instance was when a long time friend contacted me earlier today to ask about book publishing. Since I wrote three books in 2009, I guess I seemed like a good guy to ask. We chatted for a while and I found that he also needed a printer, a picture framer, and some tips for his photography business. So I referred him to three different friends whom I know well and trust in their fields. By recognizing the connections around me, I was able to help four friends … the one I was visiting with and the three I recommended.
As the conversation went on, he commented that I seem to know people in nearly any given line of work. I explained that I consider it my job to know everybody. It can do a lot of amazing things, both for personal and business purposes. Here is a piece I wrote about a year ago on building referral business.
I think networking should be a big part of everybody’s job. If your paying job is to change light bulbs on water towers, it may be good to know the guys who paint the towers in case the light bulbs ever stop burning out and you need more work. The tower painters may have work for you someday, or you may get busy and need more light bulb changers. The point is that it is always good to know where to find reliable people, and it is best to know them before you need them or they need you.
Here is the catch! How do you weigh the importance of quality vs. quantity?
Quality Over Quantity in Networking
Being connected with a lot of people is a great thing. Being closely connected is an even better thing. The importance of quality should be obvious, but it can also be easy to overlook or underestimate. Quantity is fine, but not without quality.
I got busy in 2009. In fact, I got real busy. I welcomed the birth of a son, wrote three books, and managed four new blogs, on top of an already busy job as CEO of YourNew.com, Inc. What I found was that as I became tied up in so many projects, some of my network became even tighter, while some of my network got kind of loose. Without a focus on quality in my network, it could have been a disaster.
A quality network remains solid, even when you are not looking. Like any relationship, some of your network will require more attention than others. Give them all attention, but the ones who reach out to you in return deserve a special focus. Good networkers know this, and will seldom let you down.
What do you think? How can you improve your network connectivity today? I cannot read your mind, but I can read your comments!
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I don't just write about marketing - I do it professionally, and I'm delighted to help. If you like what you found here, take a moment and get to know me. I welcome you to contact me here, or on any of my favorite social networks.