By Jess Chapman
I worked with a consultant who described great networkers as “superconductors.” A superconductor is a material that can conduct electricity from one atom to another with no resistance. He meant those people who are really connected and who facilitate the movement of energy, ideas, and opportunities through their network. I loved the metaphor because when it comes to business, being a superconductor can really supercharge your business.
Did you know that the strength of a relationship actually triggers differences in your brain? The quality of a relationship can make you more open to someone’s feedback, more concerned about their well-being, and more influenced by their point of view, amongst other things. Imagine that and multiply it by 100. Now you have a network of strong relationships. That means referrals, new opportunities and ideas, business and market intelligence, helpful advice, strategic partnerships. . . Having an expansive network of strong business relationships can supercharge any business.
So how do you become a superconductor?
1. Evaluate your network.
The power of a network is in the quality of the relationships. Anyone can add people to their social media profile, but the number of followers does not always represent the value of a network. Is your network full of people who would all be connected to your business? Do the people in your network represent a variety of perspectives? Do these people know enough about you to talk about you and your business coherently? Would they refer you to others or be happy making a connection on your behalf? If you can’t answer a resounding yes to those questions, then your network might need a little work.
2. Don’t sell.
If you approach your network as a bunch of people to sell to, you’re likely to burn through it fast. Strong relationships are reciprocal. Help people, either because you can genuinely solve a problem you know they have (which is where you might get a sale), or because you can offer support for what they are trying to do. Help make connections. Provide that quick suggestion or idea. Show that their success is important to you. There doesn’t have to be a sale in it for you—the benefit IS the strong network.
3. Connect genuinely.
Everyone knows someone who loves networking events, but most of us just cringe at the idea of talking to total strangers and having to perfect our three-minute “elevator pitch.” My view? If it doesn’t work for you then don’t do it. Find things you are genuinely interested in. Go to conferences you care about. Get involved in mentorship programs. Turn up at places that will allow you to authentically be you and connect to others with similar interests.
4. Nurture your connections.
If you only get in touch with people when you want something, that shows up pretty fast. Connect with others to stay in touch and to help them. Not everyone wants to go for coffee, and you might not have time for coffee with everyone! There are lots of ways to connect, so be creative.
5. Don’t stop when you get busy.
It’s easy to stop networking when you get busy. I know I am guilty of it. But if your network is going to be there to help you when you need it, you need to pay attention to it when you don’t. Building your network requires prioritizing it. What time can you carve out that will help you keep and build your connections?
Networking is like everything else—if you don’t see it as important, you won’t do it. But unfortunately, because no network is instantaneous, if you don’t build it now, then when you need it, it won’t be there . . . Take some time to reflect on your network and what you can do to become a superconductor and supercharge your business.
At ethree we help people work better, and work better together. If you think we can help you and your organization, just get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are always happy to help!
As Principal of ethree Consulting, Jess specializes in helping organizations unlock the power of people to drive exceptional business results.
With a background in HR, organizational performance, learning and development and training in neuroscience, and over a decade of experience working in different countries, a variety of industries, and with some of the largest organizations in the world, Jess has a unique combination of skills and experience that is hard to beat.
Jess is known for her ability to “read minds,” deliver creative yet practical solutions and “just get it,” and working with ethree is an all-round “phenomenal experience,” according to their clients.