Your Networking Funnel

Some connections are more meaningful than others. Basic socialization has plenty of value but the best networking leads to mutual growth. Imagine a funnel fed at the top by every single human with whom you have either a first, second, or third degree connection. Consider a narrow exit point where the flow of connections is defined by only the most impactful relationships. By what criteria might your priorities be determined?

Who do you know? Begin with a master list of friends, family, neighbors, colleagues, teachers, coaches, and mentors.

Prune the list. Who are the mavens and connectors? Apply the “KLT” filter (know, like, and trust).

Consider business develpment criteria. What are the market challenges? Is there an ease of access? Does my connection’s pain match up with my solution or visa versa?

Adhere to a strength/purpose matrix. The most fruitful connections share a philosophical culture fit and love meaningful work where teams of collaborators can thrive.

Execute selective and personalized coordination of conversations. Customize your contact method. Some partners prefer a phone call to an e-mail. Choose your venue carefully. Perhaps a coffee, a meal, or an outing would be preferable to a conference call.

Networking 101: The primary reason to connect is to learn. This is best done by listening not talking. That’s where networking connections discover mutual benefit. Follow-up etiquette grows the relationship.

Building a team is a macro-level project. Beyond your inner circle lies a wealth of perspective and resources that are only an invitation away. Send the message. Make the call. Knock on the door. Who might exit the narrow end of your networking funnel?