Tired of Getting Your Base Touched? It’s Time for Modern Networking
How many times have you received the age-old “just touching base” email? How many times you’ve actually ever responded to one of these? In a time when we have the ability to find out nearly everything about someone with the social tools at our disposal, why are we still getting our bases touched?
Before social and digital networking you could actually “lose” contacts. A business card or address book was all that you had to stay in touch with your network. Well today, your Rolodex has turned into more of a comet.
A comet that drags a very long tail of contact debris. Digital and social keeps many, many more connections alive, even if some are barely breathing. This is both a challenge, as these “long-tail-connections” are hard to manage, but also a great asset – as the weak ties provide you with some of the best opportunities.
Modern networking is about embracing the shift to more digital connections and social engagement, but still focusing on building trust. Let’s look at the four things you should do, to become a modern networker.
Understand the Strength of Your Network to Focus Your Time.
Most of our interactions with our network are tracked digitally. Yes, you do occasionally bump into someone on the street but, in general, emails are sent, meetings are had, calls are received.
It is now possible (with Nudge) to use the frequency, duration, and balance of these interactions to measure the strength of your relationship with a person. By understanding the strength of your network, you can ensure you nurture important relationships that are getting weaker, and spend time with the important ones you want to grow.
Understand the strength of your network, to build your foundation for becoming a modern networker.
Listen to Your Network So You Can Learn.
I have been actively blogging for over a year, and one of the first things I learned was that to write blogs, you have to read blogs. Well, the same goes for modern networking, if you want to engage with your network, you need to listen to it first.
Listening to your network on a daily basis immerses you both consciously and subconsciously into what people are doing, and what they care about. Over time this helps you develop your own cadence and purpose for engaging.
Follow and connect with people you want to grow relationships with, and if you already have too many people to keep track of, use relationship strength as a lens to filter out the noise.
Listen to understand what your network cares about.
Build Your Voice by Sharing.
source: Porter Gale “Your Network is Your Networth”
Porter Gale is an author, speaker, and advisor who wrote the book “Your Network is Your Networth”. One key takeaway for me is using a construct called Funnel Test as a way to find your voice in networking. The Funnel Test is completed by filling out three things you are passionate about and then finding the intersection of those things to find a purpose.
I have found that using the passion part alone is valuable in itself, and if you create and share content about those passions, you find people in your network with similar interests.
I firmly believe this is the best way to connect with people and makes networking very authentic because you end spending time with people you actually like.
Complete the Funnel Test, and build your voice by sharing content around your passions and purpose.
Engage with Reasons to Reach Out.
There is nothing worse than receiving the “just checking in” email. Because no one wants to be “checked in on”. However most of the time, it is real work to find a reason to reach out.
The sad truth is that today you have to earn the right for synchronous interaction. If you really want someone to meet or call, you need to grow the relationship over time, and when you reach out you have to add value.
Poor reasons to reach out
- Was just thinking of you (but not really, because I have nothing to say)
- Wanted to touch your base (who wants that?)
- We haven’t talked in a while (maybe there is a reason for that)
Use the CARES networking framework for real reasons to reach out:
- Connect people that can help each other
- Assist with advice or counsel
- Remember to show you are thinking of them
- Engage in meaningful content or discussions
- Socialize with people who share your interests
So those are the four key elements of modern networking. Don’t let yourself send another “just touching base” email. Spend the time to do it right, and you will be astounded how your network grows.