“Networking as we know it, is dead,” says Scott Gerber, the CEO of The Community Company and author of “Super Connector: Stop Networking and Start Building Business Relationships That Matter.” I kind of agree with him, or should I say we are not doing it the right way?
People have over 500 connections on LinkedIn, and most do not even know a single one of them, well maybe one or two family members and a few friends. For example, I have 224 connections, excluding my family and friends on LinkedIn, and I am yet to speak with any them. These days we dwell so much on the number of connections we have, the number of business cards we were able to collect and give out, and the small talks we might have had in the process, that we abandon the sole purpose of connecting with people.
“Rather than growing a huge network focused on sheer numbers, building a strong network is about establishing a relatively small number of deep, high-quality, business relationships based on common values. The ‘why’ of connecting is focused on people first, opportunities second. Allow yourself to help others. Don’t feel like you are too generous or giving away too much with nothing in exchange. Keeping score won’t do you any good.” – an excerpt from the book ‘Networking is dead – making connections that matter’ by Larry Mohl.
To create strong relationships that can boost your personal and professional goals, you would need to focus on relationship building instead of being a networker. Networkers are short-term thinkers, very transactional oriented. These days, people use relationships for their personal gains and strategies. Meanwhile, a relationship builder realizes beforehand that social capital is the most important currency she will ever have. She is empathetic, emotionally connected, intelligent, curious, and a people lover. Unlike the networkers, she thinks more long-term in terms of value creation and naturally generous towards others. Building deep relationships can take a while; however, you will reap the benefits from them later on.
To be a relationship builder instead of a networker, you should think like one, according to Gerber, there are three kinds;
– The Thinkers; They are curious and have lots of ideas running through their heads. However, they are not always good at executing them. If you are one, you should make an effort to share those ideas with people. Look for people who can help or inspire you to put those ideas into action.
– The Enablers; They assemble people and share their ideas with them. An enabler is that friend that would always email you to introduce you to someone she thinks might be able to help you out
– The Executors; These are the accomplishers; they make people’s ideas happen. If you are one, find ways to expose yourself to as many new ideas as possible. Maybe, you can start reading new publications or following new hashtags related to your industry.
Before we conclude, here are some tips for you to enjoy the benefits of relationship-building;
- Change your approach,
- Develop your expertise,
- Build your relationships around a shared interest,
- Share what you know with people,
- Focus on a higher goal,
- Make sure you follow-up on all your contacts.
Like people say, “you don’t have to reinvent the wheel or be the boss of a company to be a successful person.” To get great things done, open yourself up to new ideas and people; build strong relationships.