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 🙂
- 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).
- 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).
- 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?