The Networking Thing

How do you build a network?

  • Slowly.  It doesn’t happen overnight.  Patience is a key to building a network
  • Randomly.  If you don’t open yourself to randomness, you cannot build a great network.  Networks are about meeting new people and staying connected to other people you know.
  • Be a conversation starter.  Instead of looking at your phone in an elevator, start a conversation.  You never know who that person is unless you get to know them.
  • Don’t be “fake interested”.   What’s the most interesting thing on the planet?  People who inhabit the earth that’s who.  Scratch the surface of a person and you can find an amazing story somewhere.
  • Be yourself. Don’t be someone you are not.
  • Don’t do “quid pro quo”.  This comes out of the “give before you get” ethos that permeates entrepreneurship.  If you expect something right away from someone you met, it’s not going to end well for you.  In fact, see how you can help the other person with no strings attached.  Build up a karma bank.
  • Always follow through.  Never over promise.  If you can’t make that introduction, say you can’t make that introduction.  Don’t lie about the reason why.  Just be transparent about it.
  • When you respond to an introduction, always BCC the introducer.
  • Use double opt in introductions unless you have cleared it with the person beforehand.
  • Get feedback.  If an introduction doesn’t work out, you want to know about it and why.  If someone makes an intro for you, give that person feedback.  A simple thank you with a statement like, “that was really helpful to me” encourages more introductions.
  • Dedicate time and energy in a consistent manner.  This can’t be something that you do once in awhile.  It has to be something that becomes a part of you.
  • Don’t discriminate on the basis of politics, color, gender, race.
  • Discriminate on the basis of morals.  Grinfuckers should not be in your network and as soon as you find out, kick them out.
  • You can use social media, but eventually, you are going to have to press the flesh.
  • Business cards are a pain in the ass, but necessary.  Take notes on them.
  • Your own business card should not be corporate. Say something memorable about yourself you want people to take away from meeting you.

Have fun.  Smile a lot.  This isn’t work.  It’s a part of your life.