Turning Contacts Into Connections

Additional material from David Alexander and Brian Hilliard

In my mind there are two types of networking, there is that type that involves computers. It can be a long boring and frustrating adventure in both hardware and software, even if your goal is simple and involves only a few computers. The second type of networking involves people. That too can be a boring and frustrating adventure even if the numbers of people involved are relatively low.

Networking Like A Pro broaches the second subject, dealing with people rather than inanimate objects. Few people really know how to leverage opportunities through social contact, and Ivan Misner has decided to share his thoughts.

In today’s stormy economy it is vital to have the best set of tools possible. It really does not matter what industry you are in, knowing people is a vital aspect. It is not so much how many people that you know, but the quality of the bond. Having a huge virtual Rolodex while impressive is not really very useful.

How do you develop the important connections? Misner uses the term Givers Gain, I have heard many different phrases used, but the sentiment is the same. The more you give, the richer the crop. It may not sound like a great idea at first, but I for one can attest to it. If you offer your help asking nothing in return you will reap great rewards.

Over the years I have helped countless people, and the rewards have been amazing. Rewards do not always come in the form of financial gain, but they are rewards that I have appreciated. My wife and I do not always agree on this tactic “Are you doing free stuff again” she asks? Well it is often the ‘free stuff’ that leads elsewhere.

Networking takes on many guises, and Misner takes us on an adventure of some of the possibilities.

One of the aspects that comes through loud and clear in Networking Like A Pro is to remain flexible. If you are, lets say, a book reviewer, do not limit yourself to fellow book reviewers. (Most of them are boring anyway!). Misner takes a much more expansive approach, and one that I cannot argue with. Cast your net far and wide. Just because someone does not seem to fit your need at this moment, who knows what will happen along the way. OK, my list of connections might not fit everyone’s needs, I have ex-mobsters, FBI agents, Rocket Scientists, the occasional Spy, Bounty Hunters, oh the list of the bizarre goes on and on. All of them are happy to work with me because I have given unconditionally.

Many people do not understand the value to be found in people outside of your exact market. You have four people with seemingly different areas of expertise and interest. But by networking with them you find commonalities, before you know it referrals are bouncing around. There is no doubt in my mind that the finest quality of advertising is word of mouth. By networking in a sensible manner you can go far.

Misner talks about the ‘six degrees of separation’. This concept says that between you and any other person on the planet there are a maximum of six other people in between. By networking in a sensible fashion you can lower that number significantly.

This is something that I can attest to. If you are diligent you can get the layers down to two or three.

Networking is a key to success in today’s world. I may not agree entirely with Ivan Misner, but I do think he is on some very solid ground. He uses a wonderful quote in the opening pages, it comes from the man who likely is the most famous Ice Hockey player of all time, Wayne Gretsky, ‘I don’t skate to where the puck is, but where it is going to be.’ To have the edge today, you need to think like Gretsky.

You can pick up your copy of Networking Like A Pro from Amazon, just use the link above.

Simon Barrett

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