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Freakin’ Cool Networking Opportunities

July 25th, 2007

scared to network?There are three networking opportunities that I imposed on others in the last few months. As I’ve thought about the dynamics of what happened it really made me think how cool it was that I was so imposing :)

  1. A blogger got a comment on a thread that I had commented on. I asked the blogger to introduce me to the other commenter (who left a name but not way to contact him).
  2. I asked a buddy that I networked into last year for a perspective that could only come from someone within his company (but not him).
  3. I asked a friend for information about company sponsorships… he is not a decision-maker with regard to sponsorships but surely would know who was.

In each case I was asking for my network contacts to hook me up. Here’s the interesting thing: in every case they did not know the person that I needed to talk to.

This presents an interesting decision. Do they say “sorry Jason, I don’t really know that person… I can’t help you.” Or do they say, “I’m not sure what I can do but I’ll try and get you a connection… give me a few days.

I realize there are various factors to make this decision… the biggest two are (a) how well do they know (and trust in) me, and (b) how comfortable are they in meeting new people? So the blanket answer to this really is it depends.

But here is what I would do. I would take the opportunity to grow my own network and try and make the connection. Why? It’s easier to go to someone that you don’t know with a purpose:

“I know a guy that would really like to talk with someone about xyz stuff – I immediately thought of you. Can I put you in touch with him?”

This puts you on their radar and if the meeting that you facilitate goes well (in other words, if I impress him, or in some way add value to his job or network) then you just got some relationship goodwill out of your role.

You can become a power connector.

No, it’s not always easy… it can be scary. Sometimes you will be very uncomfortable as you try and develop richer, deeper relationships. But … I bet it’s worth it.

I will continue to impose like this because I need my network to grow and I realize it’s a great opportunity for others to nurture relationships. This, imho, is a freakin’ cool networking opportunity for everyone involved :)

Have you had to get to know someone better before, at the request of one of your network contacts? Was it a good thing?

4 Comments »

4 responses to “Freakin’ Cool Networking Opportunities”

  1. Chuck says:

    “Have you had to get to know someone better before, at the request of one of your network contacts? Was it a good thing?”

    Actually, I have had this situation come up a few times, and I thought it was a great opportunity to get to know someone better.

    Just start with, “Hi, this is (name) from (tenuous connection). If I remember right, you are interested in (what they are interested in). You might want to meet (name of other party). They might be able to (specific benefit they might present) for you.”

    -Chuck
    http://www.ihateyourjob.com

  2. Absolutely. I often have to find top executives willing to speak at events that I help to plan. It’s almost impossible to speak with them by a cold call. It’s 100 times better to have a contact, whatever little relation they have, to hook you up. And you’re right, since the event and contact goes well, everyone benefits.

  3. Walter Akana says:

    Hi Jason! Great post!

    Actually, I often “impose” connections too, though mostly on behalf of business associates or clients. Recently, for example, in order to help a client identify a hiring manager, I went to someone in my network to get an introduction to someone in his network. His contact helped me find the hiring manager – and that person turned out to be a long lost network contact of my client’s! My client got the interview; and I have a new contact in my network!

    Yes, I think that it’s all easier when you go to someone you don’t know with a purpose; and yes, most often it really does result in relationship good will – or as William Arruda and Kirsten Dixson say in “Career Distinction:” Career Karma!

  4. […] Jason Alba, of JibberJobber.com, shared his three unconventional networking tips on Freakin’ Cool Networking Opportunities he’s used in the last several months. […]