I have been networking for many many years. I also speak on networking to companies and organizations across the country.
I love networking and meeting new people. It is the start of a journey. It is my elixir. I love discovery and new things. It is an adventure like travelling.
Because my network is so broad and diverse I can easily connect the dots and often connect anybody to a number of people based on their past experience, background and other touch points that we discover during out meeting.
That is why I called my first networking CD “Connecting the Dots”.
However because I have so many contacts and meet so many people speaking I really don’t need to meet more people. I need to harvest my network and I think that it is that way for many people who have been networking for a long time.
I have almost 10,000 contacts in my iPhone.
Last week, I met somebody who is rather new at the networking game. They asked me what is the most important strategy in networking. Having a smaller more intimate network or a broad network? Basically the breadth or depth question. They asked me was it a numbers game or get to know people better strategy.
I think that is both as I believe that there are three stages in networking and it relates to the stages of your networking life cycle.
The first stage of networking is planting the seeds or establishing and expanding your network. If you are recently in transition, relocated or never networked you need to plant the seeds and meet lots of people. It is a numbers game to a degree as all networkers aren’t created equal. Some are takers. Some are learning how to network and don’t really know how to connect the dots and some are connectors like me. I have written on this before in a post called the ABC of Networking.
The next step is pruning your network. You have to discover who are the people in your network who are the connectors, the people introducing you to other people. The people giving you added value, teaching you new things and changing your life and bringing you new road maps. Basically the people that help you change your life in some small way.
Then you have to harvest. In my networking presentation I have a section where I talk about working an event, following up, and staying in touch.
Great ideas come from deep reflection. Great relationships come from constant contact and that is not an e mail program.
I basically say that if you aren’t going to follow up on attending an event and contacting the people on all those cards you have collected don’t go and throw the cards away. It is a waste of time. We all have a tendency with today’s technology that hyperactives us and make us move on too quickly not to follow up from something from just yesterday. It is a mistake and I am also often guilty of it.
Time for less elixir and more harvesting.
You can connect with Hank on Linkedin.
Follow his updates on twitter @hankblank
Watch some videos on http://www.youtube.com/user/MrHankblank
Here is one on How to Rise Above the Crowd. Enjoy.