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Connecting vs. Networking

How connected are you? Of course you may have plenty of Facebook friends and Twitter tweeters in your network, but how far do you, yourself, expand? We all have that friend who knows just about everyone, and can help you with anything; if they can’t, they know someone who can. This person is a connector. These connectors are people who have a genuine love for meeting new people and making new friends. Malcom Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point, defines them “as having an ability to span many different worlds, subcultures and niches.” Connecting is not the same thing as networking – connectors have traits such as “energy, insatiable curiosity and a willingness to take chances.”

You have to be willing to  step outside of your comfort zone – join different clubs and organizations (but only ones that YOU have a legitimate interest in) and reach out to others to make that connection. You can’t let intimidation stand in your way – you’re not the only one who’s nervous; others could be there for their first time, too. The art of connecting is the willingness to reach out to someone you don’t know. It’s much more interesting to sit down and talk with someone you don’t know – there is so much you can learn from strangers and their journeys in the past.

The greatest characteristic of a connector “is a willingness to help and to reach out even if there is no obvious or immediate payback”.

Here at Smellycat Productions, we recommend networking with LinkedIn, Merchant Circle, and Facebook — but don’t stop there! Go and see these people you’ve networked with and connect! These networking sites can help you connect with current and future clients — behind a computer screen where you can only see pictures and text. Make the extra effort to actually see their face and make yourselves better acquainted. Make a connection!

Do you have what it takes to become a connector? What clubs and organizations would you consider joining? Be sure to leave feedback if you have already joined organizations and let us know how connecting and “paying it forward” has worked for you!

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