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Connect to the Unconnected

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Wait. What? You mean I need to know people who don’t know many people? That seems to defeat the purpose of networking in many minds.

But after reading the post “The Most Important People in Your Network” by Rob Cross on the Harvard Business Review, it all started to make a little bit of sense.

We have all heard that it’s not what you know but whom you know that counts. However, many young professionals out there building their network, myself included, seem to be focused too much on the quantity of contacts they have, instead of the more important one: QUALITY.

But wait. Don't I need to be “in the know?"

In today’s social media age, there are too many people waking up each morning with the thought, “How am I going to gain 100 more followers on Twitter today?” Now, I’m a believer that it is important to have a social media presence, but maybe the question we should be asking ourselves is, “How am I going to gain one great new contact today?”

Cross does a good job outlining why bigger is not always better. What I took away from it that we need to be making sure our contacts are working for us. You can have a presence on as many social networking tools as you want, but if you are running into the same group of people or stretching yourself even thinner, what are you really accomplishing?

Having fewer contacts that keep you top of mind might just be a more powerful tool than a handshake with 100 different people each morning. Those few excellent connections will be more likely to share new ideas, be a better learning tool and be more likely to introduce you to others you REALLY need to know.

I’m actually hoping to see a few constructive responses to this post. After all, I have a hard time piecing together why it would be a negative to have more connections. Maybe you feel the same way?

However, there is one golden rule we all need to take away from this post - especially those of us who are young professionals with popped collars thinking we just have to know everybody.

Build relationships, not connections!

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Comments

Networks take time to build. And most importantly, people need to spend less time focusing on themselves and more time focusing on the people we're connecting with. Would they know us on the street? Do I know what makes them tick? I consistently get 10 invites a week from people I don't know at all, and to top it off, they just randomly blast me a message, it's rare to find a personal note. I say no a lot!!

Jason, love this post.

This is what we at Business Record and dsm magazine have long espoused; that is - "We don't count the people we reach, rather, we reach the people who count."

Jason, thought-provoking! It would be interesting to do an interview of people in different situations and quantities of networks, online and offline. I'm sure there are pros and cons to the large versus smaller networks, and different intentional methods of each. At the end of the day, I think we all want meaningful relationships. What Claire eluded to, I think, is that it's easy to mis-step the "how" when reaching out to connect, especially if there is less clarity and integrity with the "why."

From the limited experience I have when it comes to networking, it's a challenge to find quality connections right away, which means that the individual has to go out and meet people, regardless of the quantity.

Then once you begin sifting through your connections, you will ultimately find the connections that will best fit what you are looking for. It also depends on if the other person is seeking the same thing as well.

Wow the last line I like the most "build relationships not connections". It is important to make proper communication with the people those you have connected.

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