Often when I talk about strategic networking, people will immediately think of networking events. Their palms will get sweaty as they would rather get a root canal surgery than walk into a room full of strangers.
I say strategic relationships because there is no relationship building at a networking event!
I practice strategic networking and focus on building long lasting strategic relationships and friendships.
You should have at least 5% of your relationships be connectors. Connectors are people who know a lot of people and enjoy making connections between them.
I am a power connector. I know a lot of people and thoroughly enjoy helping create win won power connections. Be careful in overusing any one connector. That is why you should have many connectors in your network.
Do you have a tribe? What I mean by a tribe is the people in your network you can go to for a favor and actually expect it to be granted.
How many relationships can you maintain? You may have 10,000 followers on Twitter or 5,000 connections on LinkedIn, but how many do you really know.
I have learned that I can effectively managed around one hundred and fifty strategic relationships. Fifty will be key relationships, folks I call, email, text and serve every week.
As a co-host for the North Texas Happy Neighborhood Project, active in chambers of commerce and Meetup groups, I experience many people who want a one one one with me and who are asking for referrals.
I ask these eight crucial questions for power connecting when deciding who I will do a one on one with and who I will partner with.
What is your why?
Is your why strong?
Is your business or product one that clearly benefits others by helping them reach their goals?
Are you accountable?
If I give you a referral, will you acknowledge the referral and inform me you received it?
If I give you a referral, will you inform me of the outcome?
Do you ask me how you can help me?
How many referrals and introductions have you given in the last three months?
When you are careful to practice what Adam Grant calls “otherish” giving, you will be more likely to find and cultivate your tribe and avoid wasting time with takers and people you cannot help.