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Forget Networking. How to Be a Connector

Forget Networking. How to Be a Connector
Connector Josh Bycel raised $50,000 in three weeks to fund a medical clinic at a refugee camp in Darfur. We all know people like them, people who seem to know everyone. They're always able to help -- or if they can't, they know someone who can. You meet them for the first time and in 15 minutes, you're talking with them like you're childhood friends. They're successful, smart and funny, with a likable touch of self-deprecation. Who are they? "I like people and am genuinely curious," says Banikarim, 42. Related: 12 Tips for Trading Places in 2012 As Gladwell writes, "sprinkled among every walk of life . . . are a handful of people with a truly extraordinary knack of making friends and acquaintances. Traits such as energy, insatiable curiosity and a willingness to take chances seem to be the common thread among connectors -- as well as an insistence that connecting is not the same as networking. Related: Top Workplace Trend for 2012 "I'm a comedy writer. That means thinking long-term. Related:  Networking

Make a Good Impression in 30 Seconds - Ron Ashkenas by Ron Ashkenas | 12:52 PM February 6, 2012 This post was co-authored with Holly Newman. Here in the U.S., the Super Bowl this weekend showed us the power of 30-second advertisements, and how influential they can be in promoting a company’s awareness. Most of us are not in the business of making TV commercials, but in conversations there is almost always a 30-second moment that can make the meeting memorable. Malcolm Gladwell touches on this phenomenon in his book, Blink. So how do you turn your moment into an award-winning spot? Capture your audience’s attention. Convey a clear message. Focus on differentiation. When you combine these three elements, you’ve got the potential for an influential “spot.” Our world is filled with noise, information, and distractions; so having someone’s undivided attention — even for 30 seconds — is an opportunity that shouldn’t be wasted.

Schnurman: 12 tips for successful networking -- in person Networking is a seminal skill for many careers. In the past, networking meant meeting people face to face at chamber of commerce, industry and other social/business events. Technology has changed that and today we network via LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites. Those sites are fabulous, but nothing can replace human interaction. Looking a person in the eye, shaking his or her hand and witnessing body language allows you to build rapport and connect in a manner that social networking cannot. Here are some tips to help you succeed at the "old" art of networking. Understand your goals. Have elevator speech. Be consistent. Try to help others. Master small talk. Engage others. Business cards. Follow up. Meet over meals. Refresh contacts. Leverage online networking. Be sincere. Face-to-face networking is a great way to build business contacts, learn or even find a new job. Mark Schnurman may be reached at or on the web at

5 LinkedIn Apps For Power Networking Most people think about apps running on their smartphones, but we're seeing more and more web services launching app "stores" that allow you to beef up your account. LinkedIn's list of apps is relatively small compared to other popular marketplaces, but what the site lacks in quantity it makes up in quality. The majority of LinkedIn apps are undiscovered gems, assuming you frequent the social network on a regular basis. Aside from custom apps, many developers are also starting to use LinkedIn's API to launch digital downloads to do everything from scan business cards to meet strangers for lunch. Here are five LinkedIn apps to get a leg up in the never-ending networking race. Cardmunch (iPhone; free) Ah, business cards. Tripit (LinkedIn; free) Tripit has been helping business travelers keep their flight, hotel, and rental car confirmation emails in a central spot for years now. Reading List by Amazon (LinkedIn; free) There is no better way to decide what to read than asking your peers.

Creating Strategies: The Art of Listening The ability and need to communicate touches every area of our lives. Everything we do in life requires communication with others. Just try to not communicate at work for a day or in your business transactions and see what happens. Refuse to communicate in your personal relationships and see what kind of interesting results you'll create. Much of communication theory focuses on how to speak to others and how to convey your message. Since listening is as important as speaking in the communication process, if you wanted to improve your listening skills, where would you begin? Exercise active listening skills. And, if all else fails just remember these words by Epictetus, an ancient Greek philosopher and you are guaranteed to improve your listening skills: "Nature gave us one tongue and two ears so we could hear twice as much as we speak."

Lessons from Successful Networkers - Bill Barnett by Bill Barnett | 1:32 PM December 12, 2011 Professional networks are by far the most important source of new job opportunities. Networks are critical to your career. But building a powerful network takes time. It takes effort. Maybe you’re one of the lucky people whose natural charm attracts others. Here are two excellent examples of people who’ve built powerful — but very different — networks. Industrial CEO Steve (names have been changed) has a network that includes a grand total of three people — two from investment firms, who sometimes need leaders for the industrial companies in their portfolios, and one search firm consultant who serves industrial companies. Steve’s network’s powerful, even though the only effort he puts into it is the way he handles phone calls. “I take their calls and am helpful. It’s a simple strategic concept. But few people can depend on just three people. As a law firm partner, Baxter served electronics and telecoms companies.

Earn Your Way In One aspect of doing business is access: who can you reach and at what level have they surrendered their borders to you? For instance, if one has a website selling quality industrial bags like RJ Diaz, and you come to that site, then I have zero access to you, except that you’ve loaned me your eyeballs for a moment. If, while you’re there, you see RJ has provided you with links to his Twitter account, for instance, so maybe you’ll choose to follow his account there, and that will be another point of access. If he’s smart and lucky, RJ will earn the right to send you email. RJ doesn’t have access to your phone, nor does he have permission to text you. Earn Your Way In To me, here’s the current access continuum: Eyes on a site. Obviously, we earn this access. One Quick Detour: The Perils of “Bypassing” Instead of Earning I have a theory that any access that we earn via those bypass methods doesn’t really stick around. How Much Access Do You Need? How to Earn Access Be helpful. One last point.

How to Network Without Networking I’m not the life of the party. I’m not someone who can step into a gathering and work a room. I’m pretty introverted in real life. And I’m not what you might call a mover and a shaker. But I think of some of the opportunities I’ve had over the years, some of the people I’ve been so fortunate to meet, some of the places I’ve been able to go and things I’ve been able to do… and yeah. So uh… How in the world did I develop a network when I’m not good at networking? You hear so much about how it's all about who you know, how you have to network, etc. etc. When I look back, I think there have been two big things that helped, and they’re things anyone can do: 1. Do Not Think of Your Network as a Network I don’t have a network, I have friends. The thing about the word “networking” is that it has a mercenary edge to it, like we’re just going to get to know each other because of what we can get out of each other. And that leads to #2. Build Something Building things opens doors.

Using Social Networks to Improve Operations - Gary Edwards and Mike Amos by Gary Edwards and Mike Amos | 8:58 AM December 2, 2011 This post is part of the HBR Forum, The Future of Retail. For decades the mystery shopper was the main way retailers assessed operations from a customer’s point of view. By sending in a fake shopper, typically once a month, an individual store essentially was buying a dozen performance snapshots per year. A well-managed loop that links customer experience feedback with recommendations on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Yelp, can boost service quality and operational performance, increase traffic and create more happy customers — people who crow about a retailer online for free, turning their friends into new customers too. A new mini-industry has emerged using these techniques, known as “customer experience management,” or CEM. Now we’re turning attention to linking operations to marketing through “social CEM.” A social network feedback loop starts with information gleaned from customer surveys conducted online.

Seven Rules for Effective Networking “It’s not net-sit or net-eat. It’s net-WORK.” – Ivan Misner, Founder of BNI Yes, networking is work. Here are seven networking “rules” that I consider essential. 1. A distinctive brand tells prospects and referral sources about the market you serve, the services you offer, and the problems do you solve. It’s tempting to “cast a wide net” and offer a broad array of services to a broad market. Wrong. If you go broad, colleagues won’t know how to help you. 2. Review your contact database and identify people who fit your prospect and referral source profile. Your brand/niche also should determine where you network. 3. Connect with all your contacts systematically. The rest of your contacts should be on your newsletter list. Set weekly goals for all your business development activities, including the number of meetings, events, and introductions you want to give and receive. Carve out specific times during the week to make networking calls, send emails, and connect via LinkedIn. 4. 5. 6. 7.