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The most important networking question

Because I'm investigating the field of productivity consulting, I've been working on expanding my people network (both regionally and on-line), and I've been learning the joys and challenges of doing so. By nature I'm more of a maven than a connector (the terms are from Malcolm Gladwell's book The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, summarized here), but I do love being with people who are intelligent, fun, and considerate.

One of the best tips I've encountered is from the book Networking - The great new way for women to get ahead by Mary Scott Welch. Since meeting new people is the point (and there are many reasons why this is important - information, referrals, feedback, etc. - check out the book) the most important question is (drumroll please):
"Can you think of anyone else I might talk to about this?"
In other words, grow it. (I bring this up because it's the one question I didn't ask when meeting with someone last week.) Here are some other great tips from the book:
  • How to introduce yourself: "I'm calling at the suggestion of ____, who thought you might be willing to talk ..." or "... do you have time to ____?"
  • What to say: Who you are, what you do (have 25 word spiel ready), and what you're looking for. And find out same about them.
  • You don't have to like people you network with, it just has to be a win-win for you both.
  • Check-in regularly to say hi, tell them what you've been doing, and to make appointments (e.g., lunch or dinner). You don't need a special reason to call.
I've had some wonderful results from networking, including being introduced to others with great ideas, wisdom, and experience in the area I'm investigating. And of course blogging (esp. commenting on others' posts) is a great way to connect with like-minded people. Very cool!


I think the book is out of print, but there are used copies available. There are also many current books on the topic - following are some that are popular at Amazon, but I'd love to hear some personal recommendations:

Reader Comments (4)

This is brilliant! This is definitely a good way to add to any idea.

November 9, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterChris

Thanks for the feedback, Chris. I'm not sure I know exactly what you mean. Care to say more?

November 9, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew Cornell


When you get a chance, check out my friend Larry's business:


He uses "attraction marketing" as a way to involve people in wanting to do business with the vendor. Instead of pushing sales information out, he coaches people in pulling clients in...cool stuff.

November 10, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterJason

Thank you for the pointer, Jason; looks like another neat Ojai person. Interestingly, his web site theme looks very familiar...

November 12, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew Cornell

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