Julien and I are discovering that one of the most important parts of becoming a trust agent is to be Connector X, the person who’s always at the heart of connecting other people. Whether online or off, if you can make a practice of connecting people in a useful way, there’s a value there that will prove helpful to your goals in life.
Here are some ways to add value and be helpful, online and off:
Five Ways to Connect and Add Value
- Be a bridge– Before attending a face to face event, see if you can tell who’s going to be there (some sites show an attendee list, or check Upcoming.org, etc). If you’ve never met the person, search Flickr for their name and see if you can match the name to the face. Now, at the event itself, make your introduction early. Even if you’re shy, getting your connection to the people you want to meet early means they’ll have at least one person they’ve met before everyone else crowds them, etc. Now, should you find opportunity, introduce this new person to people you know in the group. That way, you’re helping bridge people together at the event.
- Share photos – If you’re ever unsure other ways to add value to an event, snap a few good candid photos of people there. Then, post them on Flickr such that others can share them (see Creative Commons for details), and with all kinds of useful tags for people to be able to find them. This is a great trick for shy folks, but it works great for trust agents like Brian Solis, who is almost always snapping quality photos of the big names in tech at various events.
- Pass Through Business – In a recent post on sharing, I mentioned how important it is to share business. This is a great chance to connect and add value. Giving someone else business that they can execute means that you’ve been able to help them. Let me ask you: if someone handed you the chance to make a few thousand dollars, would you think better or worse about that person? I try to share as much business as I can, and will work on doing that even more in the coming years.
- Connect Other People – here’s where it’s really useful. Keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities for others. If you hear of a small business training opportunity, think of Becky McCray and send the business her way. If you think of corporate storytelling, think of Larry Lawfer. And think about this with the bloggers and speakers you know, too. Heck, any line of business. Be willing and ready to connect others, and do it often, not just once in a blue moon. Again, consider the potential return on having a veritable army of people who feel like you’ve helped them out.
- Link Link Link – In your blog posts, and on your various web-based projects, be liberal with your links. Every link is a chance for someone to discover something new. Don’t be downright nutty about it, but when you can share great work, do it. And not just on your website. Use social bookmarking like Delicious, share items in Google Reader, post things to FriendFeed, and don’t forget StumbleUpon, which seems to be my #2 traffic source all the time.
Your mileage may vary, and there are times when connecting isn’t always the thing to do. Be sure you can vouch for the people you’re connecting others to, by the way. It’s not a “buyer beware” system, where you connect someone, they have a bad experience, and that’s nothing to do with you. If you’re the person who made the introduction, you’re definitely the person who comes top of mind to the person who had the bad experience.
What do you think? Can you see the value in improving your Connector X capabilities? Are you the connector in your group?