Last week, I brought you Part One of my interview with Networking Is Dead author Melissa G. Wilson. The writing, publishing, and social media leader has shifted gears recently into full-time mentorship, and now spends her time helping others achieve success.
“It’s always about people first, opportunities, second!” ~ Melissa G. Wilson
Olga: What tools do you recommend to help keep track of contacts that you make and create deeper, more meaningful connections?
Melissa: I have my own guidebooks and I’m always offering them to others to give them a way to keep track of all the different people we connect with. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed. It helped me to stop confusing activity with…
…accomplishment. I know it seems counter-intuitive to flip it upside down and think smaller. It’s not about having so many in your pipeline. It’s better to pick 10 people and then really leverage those relationships to become strategic partnerships. That’s "The Power of 10."
Olga: It is always important to give back. For those who feel they already put this recommendation into practice, how or when should we feel enough is enough?
Melissa: Even if you’re mentoring, you do need to see that appreciation coming back. It’s absolutely not quid pro quo. But you at least need the emotional support back.
I am always excited to think that there’s someone out there who can really offer me a very vibrant exchange. Even though [I have been doing this for] 20 years, I’m still very open to that.
Olga: Have you been able to witness your networking expertise work as well for others as it has for you?
Melissa: When I met my husband…one of the things I did was present to a group of companies in the restaurant manufacturing space. What happened, was my husband started a group on LinkedIn. He looked at his Power Of 10 group and it made a huge difference. At the end of the year, he looked at his alliance network. His is now one of the largest groups on LinkedIn. He grows every year based on the methodology.
People who utilize [my technique for] Networlding had a 33% increase in the connections they made. It was a very powerful experience for them to be a lot more strategic with their connections.
One business owner said, “I didn’t realize that I could look at next year and think, next year, I won’t be working with anyone I don’t like.” He was able to remove the weakest links. So many of us, when we analyze our network, realize that there are weak links. Find people who are the right connections and work with those people for a lifetime. Quality equals quantity.
Olga: How do you make new LinkedIn introductions happen through those you are already connected with?
Melissa: There’s a way to start the relationship socially that leads to a network. The introduction is the new referral. With connections on LinkedIn, you can go to people focused on their passions. Do an advanced search page for “integrity” or “socially responsible business” or “Boy Scouts,” and you’ll find people who have the same passion you do.
Olga: Can your in-person methods be translated into an online-only experience? So many connections are made online. Does, at some point, the connection have to be made face-to-face?
Melissa: I do believe that you can truly connect online. It’s now the standard for experts to say that you need to have a face-to-face connection. I’ve never found validation for the idea that face-to-face connections are “seven times more powerful than on the phone.” I think it’s incredible to keep an authentic space online and keep it open to others.
It is clear from her answers that Melissa is really pushing the importance of quality in your network, rather than quantity. Size is a non-factor within networking; strength is key. The connections to the best people are out there. Your job is to capitalize on them.
EXCLUSIVE FOR CHUNK OF CHANGE READERS: Melissa has graciously offered her book of 101 networking tips as a FREE download for a limited time. All copyright and rights of 101 Great Tips for Building Relationships and Opportunities in the Age of the Network are exclusively hers!
So, I’m curious: What networking tactics have you put into place that have worked for you?
Also, I’m always up for connecting with readers! Take a moment to say hi! (poke optional)