Why you need to be a Connector when networking

Why you need to be a Connector when networking

When we hear the word networking, we tend to first think of social events allowing us to meet new people, both inside and outside of our own industries and areas of influence. Most people think of networking in terms of how forming connections directly and personally will benefit us.

That school of thought is changing, rapidly and a new group of super-networkers are gaining prominence. Known as “connectors” they are taking over networking as you know it.

So, if you are going to make networking successful for you, you need to become a connector. Here’s why!

Networking drives performance and development

Networking is one of the foundations of being successful in business and in your career right?

Absolutely! Networking is a great way to meet new people and can open doors to new opportunities, but it isn’t just about making connections to people who make it easier to achieve your goals and advance your own career. Believe it or not, networking is also the key to helping others pick up the skills and experience they need to improve their performance and enhance their development.

There is an emergent, and ever-expanding, group of business people in the know, who are capitalising on providing this coveted skill set of being the conduit between others, linking them and people or places that are the solution to others’ problems.  These people are like a powerful group of super-networkers and they’re known as Connectors.

Connectors build solid networks

Being a connector means connecting people to solve their problems or meet their needs. For example, if you know one of your colleagues is looking for someone with a specific skill set, you know a person who can fill that need so you connect the two.

In the Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell articulates the essence of a connector beautifully; “sprinkled among every walk of life . . . are a handful of people with a truly extraordinary knack of making friends and acquaintances. They are Connectors.”

Now, this may not sound like networking as you know it, but that’s exactly what it is. Networking is about helping the people in your network to achieve, as much as it is about helping yourself.  Think about it, if someone within your networking community were to help you, for no reason other than helping you was within their reach, even by something as simple as connecting you to someone else who could solve a problem you were experiencing, would you not remember them favourably? Would you not perhaps by nature want to help that person or make them a priority were they to one day need something from you?  People feel good about reciprocity, and inherently, people enjoying returning the favour. Maybe not now, but being a connector is not about the immediate, it’s not a “if I give this, I will get that” proposition. It’s about a genuine desire to help others, and create a broader community around you that extends beyond your typical networking spaces.

You see, being a connector is a powerful thing. You’ll be remembered by every person you connect to an opportunity and every person whose problem you solve.

When you’re remembered, people will refer opportunities to you. It’s a win-win.

How connector leaders improve performance

Rather than relying on just their own skills and experiences to coach team members and improve their performance, the best leaders connect their teams with people outside their own sphere of knowledge and influence.

The most successful leaders take advantage of opportunities for their associates to learn and improve by connecting them with the right people, both inside and outside of their own organisation. The best leaders don’t just network to expand their list of personal contacts. They use their networking skills to bring together talented professionals with the right background and experience and connect them with the right resources at exactly the right time.

As the performance of your team grows, it allows your talent and skill as an effective leader to shine, opening more opportunities for both you and your team.

How to make and facilitate connections

The key to becoming a connector is to be genuinely interested in the people you meet. That means talking to people beyond the networking events.   Some of the best connectors, don’t necessarily network in the traditional places, they network doing things they love, activities they enjoy or just talking to people with a sense of curiosity about who they are without an agenda.   For when you get to know people, you know what they need and how they can help others. Talk about things other than work, too. You never know what hidden talents or ideas you’ll discover. The more you talk to people, the more you’ll find connections for yourself and for others.

Don’t be a just a networker; be a connector. It’s the most sound basis to build long-term and sustainable networks which benefit you all.

Take the next step to build your network

If you or your team needs help to ensure you are building the right networks, then get in touch. Through the Athena Leadership Academy’s Building Strategic Networks workshop or through executive coaching we can ensure your networks are helping you towards your success.

And of course, I’d love to hear from you! Please feel free to send me a message and connect with me on LinkedIn! 

Athena Coaching

Linda Murray is a successful businesswoman, coach, strategist and mentor, speaker and trainer. Linda’s talent is teaching women to increase their commercial success while using their authentic feminine approach. She mixes her personal experience in business, her strong academic background and her observations of hundreds of businesses to show businesswomen and female executives how to enjoy greater commercial outcomes and accelerated individual success. Linda has coached countless clients to greater success through improved business strategies, increased profits, leadership development, increased team engagement and greater personal satisfaction and commercial confidence. Linda balances the extremes required in business. She has the unique ability to focus on both the big picture and the details; the numbers and the people; the sales and the administration; the left-brain and the right-brain. Linda has a track record in assisting women in business and female executives to identify the commercially profitable big picture strategy and then create an achievable action plan to implement it. Linda built her first successful business in her early 20s, growing her business to a team of 25 bookkeepers and financial controllers. Linda’s business model modernised the bookkeeping industry dramatically – by constantly challenging the traditional models of client management and service delivery. After experiencing the results that business coaching delivered in her business, Linda became passionate about coaching. Linda sold her financial business to start Athena Coaching, where her clients enjoy the benefit of her proven commercial experience combined with state of the art coaching support and her exceptional academic background. Linda has a Masters of Business Coaching, a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology and Philosophy), is an Accredited Professional Coach and Certified NLP Practitioner.

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