Don't Add Contacts....Strengthen Connections

Sunday, 18 May 2014 17:01
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Today, it seems that everyone is connected to everyone else's "network". Whether it's LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or what have you, people are becoming connected like never before. The problem with this is that while our networks seem vast, the emotional investment that each of us typically has in the bulk of the individual relationships within these networks is often superficial, at best. Which means they aren't worth very much.

Curious to learn more? Read on, dear friends.

Don't Add Contacts...Strengthen Connections

"For some, building one's social network can become a challenge to collect as many contacts as possible, knowing that they all can't possibly be valuable."

I currently have 1,979 LinkedIn contacts. So what?
That's a lot of contacts, I realize. In fact, I am one of LinkedIn's "Top 1%" of Networkers. However, of these individuals, how many would I judge to be in my "inner circle"? That is, how many would I consider contacting if I wanted to bring them a particularly distinctive business opportunity or I would expect to reach out to me if they needed a special favor? Perhaps 50-100, i.e. 5% or less. I imagine that many others feel likewise about their varied social networks. In fact, I'll bet you haven't even met most of the people in yours!

So, rather than investing a lot of time and energy to accumulate more LinkedIn contacts, I commit myself to building Connections (with a capital C) among those current contacts who matter most to me (and to whom I'd like to matter more).

Build Connections and strengthen relationships.
Let's define Connection in this context. Essentially, it's the emotional and intellectual investment that one will dedicate to supporting another's interests or needs, based on affinity.

We should deepen our relationships with those who matter to us and to whom we wish to matter more. When we invest our time, effort and energy to promote the interests of others, we should expect to strengthen our Connection with them over time. This investment can involve doing favors or providing advice when asked, sharing relevant and helpful information when appropriate, and creating introductions where helpful. Being a friend, if you will (though, that isn't a requirement, of course). Some folks may be disinterested in doing anything of consequence to assist us, despite our efforts in their behalf. It doesn't mean we can't be friendly, just that we should lower our expectations accordingly.

Beyond mutual reciprocity, richer professional relationships also encourage parties to actively seek opportunities to benefit others in their inner circle. This may include sharing awareness of emerging situations that could benefit them, or offering an invitation to participate in very select business opportunities not available to others. This type of consideration can elevate these relationships even further.

In Conclusion:
You may say this is just another way of framing the good old Golden Rule. If so, so be it. That doesn't make the message any less timely. In fact, in today's highly networked (but less intimately connected) society, it may be more relevant than ever.

Since 2005, BFS Innovations has helped its Fortune 500 clients with technology scouting, new business creation and development services. Contact Michael today at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 614 937-2408 to discuss your company's needs.


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