Strong networking skills are necessary in both on-line and off-line communities, in this abstract we'll explore the strategies used by one well-connected mogul Keith Ferrazzi. Includes commentary relevant to building business-to-business relationships.
Network with a clear objective that you share with others. You aren't networking for the experience, be clear about why you are investing your time in these relationships. Surround yourself with people who can help you achieve this objective. Focus on purpose.
Keep track of those people who you would like to know. With your objective in mind take down the names of everyone that can help you reach your objective, track them in a database and make an effort to be of value to them. Top 100 regional lists are great for this purpose, you want to be associated with the top people in your industry.
Before you need them, Create connections with people who can help you with future objectives. Look at your long-term plan to identify those relationships you'll need in the future, start establishing your value to these individuals now. You really never know how soon you might need these people. Invest in future relationship value.
When in public, be with other people in your network. This means if you go to a restaurant, never eat alone, invite someone from your network-- use every public engagement as an opportunity to strengthen relationships. Be involved socially, "invisibility is a fate worse than failure."
Everyone wants to know someone who's interesting and famous. Why be like everyone else, let your individual flare show that you are interesting. Let everything from your style to mannerisms demonstrate the unique value you bring as a professional. Become an authority in your industry, let your fame extend your reach.
Relay the connection while being kind to the gatekeeper. When referred to another always mention the existing personal connection, "A mutual friend John Doe asked me to contact Jane Doe." Treat the people between you and your desired contact with respect. Slight the gatekeeper and you'll never connect no matter who referred you.
Ask of the people you need to reach your objectives. No one will know you're looking to connect unless you ask. Ask others who might help you reach your objective, work yourself in steps closer to those who can help you succeed. Ask for what you desire, be bold but respectful.
Get what you want and make sure those important to you get what they want too. Introduce people inside your network to others who help them get what they want. It's very important that those around you succeed, this buys relationship value that helps you get what you want. Grow the value of your network by helping it succeed.
Strengthen your relationship bonds by remembering those around you. Ping your network constantly by acknowledging the events in peoples lives. Send birthday cards, news clippings, short notes, and other small things that keep you first in mind. Always provide something of value in every communication-- this includes the emotional value of a pat on the back.
Develop your strong inner circle with key contacts of value. Take really good care of contacts who can reach those two-levels above where you are. Like people prefer to socialize with those on their level, so you can't grow your network unless you can attract the right people.
Building strong social networks contributes to your business, the objective is to clearly define the objective of your interaction and invest in your sphere of influence. You're doing this not just for your own advancement, but to bring those around you up on your strengths. Everyone should benefit from your own growth-- it's the value you bring that makes people want to connect with you.