Archives for March 2022

The differences between networking and connecting

As has been said by Eric Dewey of eLegal Training, Networking is about knowing more people; connecting is about knowing people more. The distinction is obvious. You know a lot of people professionally and personally, but you actually are connected to only a fraction of those you know.

When you are at a business, social or charitable event, you likely run into many people you know. With many of these people, you will know them “socially” or “professionally”, which is a way of saying you know them, who they are, but are not deeply connected with them and have no investment in their successes or failures.

I think a good example is a small town of say 1,000 people. In a small town, you are likely to know everyone else who lives there. At the same time, you will not be connected with 999 other people. Maybe you are connected with 40-70. This is because connection requires a deeper relationship than simply meeting someone. It involves time, mutual respect, and participation in the relationship by both people to become more than mere acquaintances.

Another good example is LinkedIn. I have approximately 16,000 connections on LinkedIn. But it would be more truthful to say I am networked with approximately 16,000 people on LinkedIn because it is not possible for me to be connected to that many people. If I went through that list, maybe I am actually connected to 100 to 200 of those people, maybe more, but nowhere near 16,000. It’s just not possible.

True connections make up your community. People in communities care about their connections’ success and have a relationship built on mutual respect and trust. Respect and trust have to be earned before someone in your network becomes an actual connection. It takes time and work on the part of both people.

Once you have a connection, you will learn more about each other, be interested in transfer of knowledge and information, and care about each other’s successes (and failures). When you reach this level with another person you add another layer to the community you are building.

Through your networking activities you should have a goal to find people to connect with. By identifying possible connections and forging new relationships you will strengthen the foundation of your community and build the type of community you want to be a part of. These types of mutually beneficial relationships involve real connection and make your life far more interesting.

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Do you have a good pitch?

We all have a pitch to make and the need to do so comes up all of the time. Many times you are making a pitch unconsciously because it can be second nature for some. Think about how good your pitch could be if you actually thought about what you want to say in a given situation.

A pitch is about conveying information to one or more people to obtain a desired result. It can be to a potential client or customer, a potential investor, or a new potential connection.

It is hard work to come up with a pitch. In most situations you will lose the other person’s attention unless you have a short and to the point pitch. This is why people reference the thirty second elevator speech.

So how is your pitch? Is it good? Do you have different pitches for different situations? Spending time thinking about this or outlining pitches is time spent investing in yourself.

You should practice your pitch, including to others you know and trust to provide honest feedback. It isn’t as easy as you may think, but it’s worth it. You want your pitch to come out sounding natural. That’s why you need to practice both alone and in front of other people. Take and listen to constructive criticism and then see where your new pitch can lead you!

So what should you do?  Work on a pitch by thinking of your audience and the message you want to convey.  Don’t make it too long or use words people generally won’t know the meaning of, i.e. dumb it down so whoever you are speaking to will understand what you are saying. By doing so you will avoid your audience thinking about what a word meant and missing the next part of what you are saying.

After practicing, use your new pitch. See what works and feels comfortable. This will allow you to continually revise it to be the best version for the moment and have the best chance for your pitch to be successful.

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What have you learned today?

I recently came across a good quote I hadn’t read in quite a long time and it spoke to something I agree with, which is the importance of being a lifetime learner. I was cleaning out some old emails and the quote was in an email from a friend. The quote brought to mind a truth: continuous learning and training makes for a better and more interesting life and work place.

The quote is “Everyone is born a genius, but the process of living de-geniuses them.”  It is by Buckminster Fuller, who has been described as an American architect, systems theorist, author, designer, inventor, critic of work, and futurist. What an interesting description for a man who, among many other activities and accomplishments, was a prolific writer, invented the geodesic dome, and was a president of Mensa, the organization for people with genius level IQs. I think his quote is correct on many levels. 

We all have potential, but realizing potential takes work, continuous work.  We all know intelligent people who are disinterested in learning or otherwise do not apply themselves, evidencing the truth that intelligence is not a predictor of success. Learning and applying yourself provides a better chance of improvement, let alone success.

The time to step up is today. It already is February, but it’s not too late to come up with a plan. What should you learn? Well that depends on what you do and what will help you do what you do. The first step you should take is to come up with ideas and make a choice on the first step based on what speaks to you. This could be reading a business book, taking a course online or at a local community college, or finding a mentor. The options are endless and depend on you to make the choice.

Do something, because the right choice is to do something and stop the de-genius process!

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