Networking 104 – Are you a Connector?

Here is the 4th Article I wrote for 336Events.com

by Teddy Burriss Social Networking Pro

Last month we shared that Networking is done both IRL (in real life) and Virtually (social media).  This month let’s talk about being a connector.

Frequently when I attend networking events in town, 336Events as well as the many chamber, community or association events, I see two clearly identifiable types of people. The basic networker and the connector.

The basic networker is usually the one who comes to a networking event, immediately looks for his/her best friend and walks directly to them. They will usually say hello to a new person in the room, but often will return their attention back to their buddy or coworker. A basic network does not have a clear agenda of making new connections, either by design or because they don’t understand the significant benefits of making new connections every day.

The connector will walk into a networking event, wave hello to their friends and coworkers, then immediately look for someone new in the room. A connector will walk up to someone new and strike up a conversation without any prodding or coercion. A connector is good at asking questions and listening to what their new connection has to share. A connector will introduce the new people in the room to other people there. A connector’s focus is to network and make new connections.

Are you a basic networker or a connector?  Don’t get me wrong, I love hanging out with my buddies. However, at a networking event the intent is to network, i.e. make new connections. I’ll get together with my buddies later on.
Using networking events to make new connections is a powerful way to grow our circle of contacts. This growth of new connections is important for our life, career, business and even community. Actively growing our circle of contacts is how we discover new career ideas, business opportunities, community involvement possibilities and even new friends.

As we talked about a few months ago in Overcoming Fear, making a new connection is not dangerous. It starts with a “hello”, a pleasant question and the ability to chat about just about anything.

Let’s look at the quantitative benefits of being a connector at networking events. Imagine going to 50 networking events a year. If you network as a connector you are likely to make 50+ new connections. If you spend the year nurturing your relationship with these 50+ connections, you could easily connect with 50 more connections just by asking your new connections, “Who else do you think I should meet?”

As a connector you could turn these 50 networking events into a minimum of 100 new connections each year. As these 100+ people get to know you, they will easily be able to introduce you to even more relevant connections who you need to know, could use your services or purchase your products. The number of new connections is directly proportionate to your desire to be a connector vs. a basic networker.

Consider your purpose of networking the next time you go to a networking event. Do you intend to grow your circle of connections, or hang out? Your answer is important and will guide your activities at your next networking event.

If we know each other and you see me at a networking event, please wave hi, maybe walk over and say hello before you turn your attention to someone in the room that you don’t know. I’ll understand that you are a connector and want to make new connections during the event. I’m going to do the same thing. We’ll catch up later on over coffee, sweet tea or a “soda.”

 

This series is brought to us by Teddy Burriss, a world renowned Social Networking Coach. Teddy teaches “Networking for Mutual Benefit” and “Building Relationships through Social Media.” Teddy is an accomplished author, public speaker, avid social media engager and blogger.

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