Connect to the Unconnected
Image by chrisafer via Flickr
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!