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Transactional or Transformational Networking

By January 10, 2017May 17th, 2017No Comments

Transactional or Transformational Networking?

Networking at the end of the day is, and always has been, about connecting, yet the way we’re going about it is all wrong.

We appear to be living in an age of extremes. On the one hand, we obsess about the quantity of ‘friends’, connections and size of the databases we are trying to build. On the other, we struggle with the busyness of life and keeping in touch with said ‘friends’.

There is no doubt the explosion of social media has turned the world of face-to-face interactions upside down, with future business leads and contacts now at the touch of a button. Overlay this with the multiple networking groups, industry specific events and meet-ups available and it’s no wonder we are suffering from a deficiency of time to pay any depth of attention to things.

The thing is this, if the number of connections we have on social media and in our database were all that mattered then every one of us would be basking in unparalleled success just from the sheer number of opportunities we have to connect. But, as we know, that’s simply not the truth.

Networking is about quality not quantity

At the end of the day, networking is, and always has been, about connecting, yet the way we’re going about it is all wrong. Most of our connections have become superficial and involve the transactional swapping of business cards, the click of a ‘like’ button or simply an add to the mailing list. Our obsession with quantity over quality, with width versus depth, with transactional connecting versus building connections that transform and really matter is leaving us feeling overwhelmed, over exhausted, over stretched and over it. Back in the 90s, British anthropologist Robin Dunbar proposed that humans could only comfortably maintain 150 stable relationships, in terms of knowing people by name and the ability to keep in social contact with said group. He suggested that anything larger than this naturally results in sub-groups being created – new tribes of 150 are created.

Make real, transformational connections

I would add to Robin Dunbar’s thinking that real influence, impact and momentum start with a significantly smaller circle of influence.  One where you are smack bang in the centre because it is there that transformational connections are made possible – a small group of people providing quality of thinking, creating new perspectives, pushing you further than you could ever go alone, supporting you and taking pleasure in seeing you succeed.

This is when connections have the ability to transform thinking, behaviour and impact. This is when connected you becomes influential you – where you can change the game, make the impossible possible, inspire others to take action, connect people with ideas and ultimately connect those ideas to action.

Narrow down your personal of influence

There is no doubt that in today’s digitally connected world we have the opportunity to build trust and influence one-to-one, more-to-more and many-to-many. And we are more capable of driving change together than we ever are alone. But in our time deficient world where dreams of change are big, where visions of a future are ours to own, making connections has to be about the real and the genuine – about the interplay of a select group of people who are working closely together, strategically creating plans to succeed.

Look closely at your network and find those core few – your personal circle of influence. They will be there and they will help you achieve your dreams.

It’s time to stop network transacting and, in its place, build transformative connections. Invest time and energy and exchange value mutually, because on the other side of this investment lies trust, depth of understanding, connected visions and the achievement of goals.

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