Be a Connector, Not Just a Networker

For this article by Jo Ilfeld, Executive Leadership Coach on networking, the image shows pinboard with pins connected by strings.

Be a connector, not just a networker.

What do I mean by that?

I have built a large network at this stage of my career and one of the most valuable things you can be as a networker, and one I take a lot of pleasure in, is recognizing when I can’t really help someone and connecting them to those in my network who can.

However, one thing to remember before making that connection is to check with the person first to whom you want to make that connection.

When people connect someone to me, I feel like there’s an expectation that I have time for that meeting when I actually don’t have time. So now I always check before making an introduction. Am I perfect about this? No, of course not.

In the past, I used to get so enthusiastic and just make the connection and this would frustrate some of those in my network. While I do still forget occasionally, I will now backtrack after I made a promise to connect to someone that I need to check first if that person is open to connecting at the moment. It may dampen the enthusiasm a little, but it shows my respect for that other person’s time.

Jo Ilfeld, PhD

An executive leadership coach, Jo helps C-suite leaders, executives, and high-potential managers develop the flexibility, skill, and frame of mind to meet the challenges of the next five, ten, twenty years…. and beyond. She works with individuals, teams and organizations on four core areas of leadership development. Check out Jo's bio page for more information.

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