How many LinkedIn connections do you have? What about Facebook friends? Twitter followers? Ok… now, how many of those people do you know – really know? Would take your call, return your email, or know you by sight if you ran into them? So one more time… how many connections do you really have? Oh… wait…?
Many people think that the larger the number, the better the connectivity. However, if you don’t have a more established relationship with a connection than say, the other 610,000 random people in Nashville, is it really better? Or just more? How can you elevate the quality of your personal and professional connections to make them more valuable? I wish I could share some secret formula, but I don’t have one. What I do have is a very simple, very well known and widely shared philosophy… I’m taking no credit for this one, here, folks: ‘Those who give, get.’ Give quality, get quality. Give friendship, get friendship. Give referrals, get referrals. Easier said than done, right? So I’m here to help you do it. That’s all, just some simple tips, techniques and suggestions to help you give more, to get more. I’ll share one now, and continue sharing in my future posts.
Give/Get #1: Give a listen. JUST listen. When you meet someone, anyone, for the first time, listen to them. Ask them about themselves or their business, put your hand over your mouth, and just listen to them. Just be less obvious than this… CRAZY things will happen! You will learn not only their title and company but probably about challenges they are facing and needs that they have and where their kids go to school. Powerful information that you can then use to tell whether or not this person could be a good, quality connection for you. And I promise they will then ask you about yourself, and listen back. Just be sure you use your newly discovered information to speak to them personally, human to human, and without trying to sell them something right then and there. Listening is the first step to determining a quality connection vs. a passing business card that will sit on your desk for 10 months before being thrown away. You can clean up those cards more easily HERE.
Today’s challenge: how many of those cards on your desk can you categorize as a quality connection and how many might require some more listening?
But Wait, Who Are You? I have been “networking” professionally since I was 16. Starting as a hostess in a local chain restaurant, I created relationships that consistently developed my skills, taught me life lessons, and of course, led me up the “corporate ladder” to my next exciting job challenges. Building a network has allowed me to work for some of the most prestigious restaurants in the city, to helping lead the most respected organizations in town. Through networking, I have never had to apply for a job in the traditional sense. I have always “known someone who knows someone.” Over my career, I have learned the importance of marketing not only in business but in networking yourself as a “brand.” My personality brands me as a connector that is outgoing and energetic. However, I have been told that not everyone shares my love of running up to people, introducing myself, and learning all about them! I hope to share my experiences in networking and marketing, offering some tips and suggestions that might help you be more effective.
Feel free to contact me directly – I love to network over coffee… lots of coffee. 😉 Anna-Vija McClain – Connect with me HERE
PO Box 160103 Nashville, TN 37216