I read in Keith Ferrazzi’s Never Eat Alone book about power connectors and knew that is what I wanted to work towards. The idea is simple – be a person that knows a lot of others, knows needs and talents, and tries to make connections to various people. I’m not sure if I wanted to be a power connector for selfish reasons, or just because I get a lot of fulfillment out of helping others.
Keith named various professions (such as realtor, headhunters, etc.) which tend to naturally create this power connector status. Funny that he didn’t name one of my early bosses, a mortician (I worked/lived in a funeral home for the first 14 months of my marriage – it was great! Quiet neighbors!)
So anyways, over the last year I’ve made a huge effort to be aware of supply and demand (or, people skills and desires and companies needs), and hook people up where appropriate. And it has been rewarding for me to see at least two people get jobs right away, and many others begin to develop great relationships with superstars.
But I’ve had a couple opportunities in the last few months to observe what others do with my introductions. I’m not talking about those that do nothing… because those that don’t reply to an introduction are just building their own personal brand (as being non-responsive, or not interested or whatever), and that is their choice.
I’m talking about those that do follow-up, but they do it in a way that is not appropriate. Here’s an example of an e-mail that may have been sent in both cases (and remember, my idea of networking is 100% based on building relationships – you tell me if this is building a relationship):
I am interested in x because of y. Please tell me what you have for me.
When I make an introduction I have a high regard for both parties. I think that each person could provide value to the other. I think about what could become of a relationship, maybe because that’s the way that I think about networking. I would never send an e-mail like that as a first introduction, and I forget that others would when I make the introduction.
The first time I got cc’d on the reply that said “we regret to inform you that this position is no longer available.” Immediately I cringed because I knew that Jim’s approach was not in building a relationship, rather it was the common job-search question of “here I am – what job do you have for me.” And John did the same thing that he does with all other job seekers.
The second time I got a private e-mail from John. It can be summed up in “why didn’t Jim figure out who I was, what my organization does, and approach me from a professional position? Instead I get just one more ‘what can you do for me’ e-mail.”
This is clearly not what my professional contacts are expecting from the introductions I extend. I admit that I’m not the best at all-things-relationships (just ask my wife). I hope you don’t think that I’m coming across as smarmy. These are just observations that I’m picking up on as I hook people up – and I realize that its all about education (in other words, they aren’t trying to come across as “rough around the edges”) – that’s one of the purposes of this blog :).
What do you think? Who should be doing something differently, and what should that be?