Connections and Networks

In today’s connected world, we are all in the networking business. Every day we engage with new and existing connections across diverse networks and industry sectors.  The challenge is, how can we best leverage these relationships for mutual benefit?  For every professional it is crucial to nurture existing connections while cultivating new networks.

We suggest treating your professional networks and connections like a perpetually emerging team. New connections join while others transition out. Each team member brings a new perspective, adds contacts and creates change. A new line-up brings with it an opportunity to innovate, collaborate and score new ideas to make growth happen.

How to create value through connecting? 

If you’ve worked with us before then you know we are active on LinkedIn. We also believe there’s great potential value in Facebook Groups. However, the LinkedIn community can be ironic. Thousands of professionals on the platform, many with over 500 connections — yet it can be common to get little or no response when we ask for one connection (or an introduction).  It’s not unusual to be told “I don’t know anyone who does that,” or “I don’t have a recommendation”.  So, the nagging question is, “how can you best used LinkedIn to grow your network?” Look for opportunities to comment on and share good content; take time to look through the connections of your LinkedIn connections and invite them to join your network. Opportunities often unfold when we reach out and link up; and value can be realized through one “simple” connection.  A single referral can make a massive difference in career acceleration and future growth.

We believe we are all in this battle to do good business together.  From experience we can tell you that helping an existing or new connection find their next opportunity provides value to all involved.  Offer to be a bridge between your connections — creating introductions within your immediate networks is meaningful.   Complacency towards nurturing and maintaining these connections is like tending to a garden.  If neglected, your network will remain dormant and unproductive. When cultivated, it will generate a fruitful yield.

What steps can you take? 

  • Get involved. Join a committee within your networking circles.   IIDA, AIA, SMAP, CSI, ASID, USGBC, CoreNet
  • Be present and active in the markets you serve. If a networking group doesn’t exist, create one.,
  • Look for small connections to others in your network from end users, influencers, stakeholders.
  • Attend unexpected events. Trade shows you would not have considered are precisely where you should be.  Everyone goes to AIA national conference, Neocon, IIDA events, CoreNet.   Unexpected means an event you wouldn’t consider yet find NEW connections.  Such as a building integration | smart building workshop or AV Tech or event specific to IoT in Architecture or Design.
  • Find common ground. To be considered a power networker, a true connector it requires an openness.  Make a recommendation for a friend or colleague when asked for a referral.   Your closest colleagues are not going to let their entire network know they are in active search.   They will not announce on LI or to you over coffee that they are eager to make a career change.   There is an innate stigma related to career transition and acceleration that we need to get past.    This means helping others by finding connections for them not always just for ourselves.

Bestow dignity on others by being a connector.

The best business comes from referrals, the best new opportunities come from referrals and the best endorsements come from referrals. Yet, because our colleagues and connections are busy professionals, it’s sometimes necessary to reach out and request the referral you seek.  Then, remember that someone in your network may benefit from your referral, consider extending that offer.

When asked for your input consider providing a recommendation versus responding with the standard “don’t know anyone in active search.” We all know someone who is in active search or someone that might be willing to consider the “right” offer.  A friend, a family member, or colleague will need our help in their career transition.  Bestow dignity on the professional who asks for your connection or recommendations by lending a hand.  Make your engagements, networks and connections matter by being a connector.