People and relationships provide opportunities. Ignoring this in the course of business and life is at your own peril. The saying “everything is who you know” is true. These people make up your world, which is expanded by people one person knows, but another doesn’t. Connecting with your connection’s connections is a learnable skill with the possibility to expand your network, world and possibilities.

Sometimes it works to ask people you know to introduce you to someone they know who has a specific expertise, whether an accountant or a plumber. I regularly ask people I know well who they know who I need to know. That is the start of connecting and the chance to forge a new relationship. By doing this you exponentially increase the reach of your network and opportunity for good connections.

You may be thinking this seems like real life LinkedIn. Of course, LinkedIn is an online technology driven world trying to imitate real life. The difference to me is I have many connections on LinkedIn I haven’t met and don’t actually know. This doesn’t mean LinkedIn has no value, just that it’s different than connecting in person and through people you know.

One year I tried to meet any new local LinkedIn connections for lunch or coffee to see if I could forge any meaningful relationships beneficial to me professionally. I met some nice people, but, for what I do professionally, the time and money spent didn’t result in any work or good connections. Instead, I was offered a lot of insurance products and asked to trust people I just met to invest my money. It was a failed experiment, but resulted in me honing my focus on connection through real human contact and interaction through people know. In the years since, this has proven to be a good path to follow.

Of course, these are what is referred to as “warm connections” because they come through someone you know. There is a more immediate trust when someone who knows two people is willing to introduce them. It doesn’t mean every connection made will bear fruit, but you don’t know if you don’t try. Start today.