The last few days I’ve been really interested in networking. But not in a sleazy, networking event kind of way. Rather in a sincere, reconnecting with others and helping them kind of way. As such, I’ve been re-reading and re-watching a lot of Ramit’s stuff on natural networking, and also remembering how I liked Keith Ferrazzi’s book Never Eat Alone. I tried finding some good YouTube videos on expanding your network or best practices for a follow-up system, etc., but discovered 99% of the results are completely stupid. But, I do like this one thing Ferrazzi says here:
A business relationship is a personal relationship in a business environment. The best and most effective professional relationships are personal.
If I could go back and tell my 2008-self (fresh out of college) 5 tips from super-wise future me, 1 of them would be to better nourish relationships. It’s crazy how many people I knew, was friends with, and have just totally lost touch with now. I think your personal network is the most valuable asset you have, and as is commonly known in the sales/business world, it’s way easier to maintain a relationship than to develop a new one.
Lately I’ve been reaching out to lots of people I haven’t talked to — many in years. It’s been so fun. I love it. I love learning what they’re up to, all the interesting things they’ve done, and sometimes being able to help them with advice, pointing them in the direction of a job, or introducing them to someone they could benefit from knowing. For example, I introduced an old friend from UMBC to a colleague from my first job, and I just learned the UMBC friend referenced the colleague’s organization in one of his master’s classes. I also just found out someone I’d lost touch with for years is finishing up a Master’s in International Relations, who I’m going to introduce to another friend who’s on the fence about jumping into that exact program. I love that kinda stuff. I don’t think I’m really there yet, but I strive toward being a Connector (ala The Tipping Point).