I’ve started off this year actively pursuing an important part of my “kings” guiding words. One of my goals was to connect with more people who matter to me. At CES in Las Vegas, I spent a little time with Kris Smith, Marsha Collier, John Jantsch, Betsy Aoki, Tim Street, Steve Rubel, Bryan Rhodes, Lindsay Maines, Chris Brown, Rohit Bhargava, Alexis Rask, Ross Martin, Kenny Miller, Jeff Pulver, Jeffrey Hayzlett, and so many more.
I did this somewhat differently than usual. I worked my hardest to make time for as many people as I could who mattered to me, so that I could make some kind of personal touch to reinforce our relationship. This meant having a moment to chat comics and business with Justin and Eric from Coffeehouse. It meant watching demos with Ken Kaplan and Bryan Rhodes at Intel, and playing around with the new Bloggie video camera with Sukhjit from Sony. It meant getting into the AMEX Open booth (disclosure: I write for them), and sharing ideas on who’s a big thinker with Steve Rubel.
I love meeting new people. I’m always happy to talk about social media and writing and whatever else with folks. But I skipped every party except for the Las Vegas Hilton tweetup, because I knew that it wouldn’t be a value to stand around in a loud club, drinking and mostly just nodding my head while not really hearing what you were saying. Instead, I spent time learning from smart people who will fill me with ideas that I can share with you for your business goals.
I’ve also decided to stop using the phone as much as possible. Phones, Steve Rubel was telling me (and I forget who told him) make it so that someone else is setting your day’s priorities. That’s one problem. The other is, I’m in different time zones all the time. I’m on planes all the time. I have a bad memory, so things we agree about on the phone don’t always get written down. I’ve shifted a lot of that into Google Wave ( my new love).
To deepen our networks, we have to do a few things, and some of them aren’t exactly easy or simple to execute.
To Deepen Your Network
- Devote two hours a week to this effort. If, out of the 60 hours an average person works, you can’t find two for this, reconsider how you’re running your day.
- Pick small groups of like-minded people that you want to stay in touch with. List them in some way (in your contacts, on a spreadsheet, in a Twitter group – maybe all of those).
- Think the following whenever thinking about this group: “you are important. I care about you. I want to help you grow.”
- Reach out to these people once a week, if you can. Try not to make it about nothing, but do keep in touch, even if it’s in small clumps (I’m using Google Wave for that).
- Keep their names close at mind for when someone mentions they need/want some kind of help. I made two referrals in one meeting to people I think will appreciate them.
- Keep abreast of these people’s news via Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter. Check in from time to time. Congratulate them on their success, and commiserate with them over their failures.
- When attending events, make SOLID plans to connect with the people attending that you want to deepen a relationship with (Jeff Pulver taught me all I know about planning my experience at events. I fail this sometimes, but he taught me well).
- When possible, find these people opportunities. Do the groundwork instead of asking how to help. (Want to know the king of this? Tim Sanders, author of Love is the Killer App).
- Remember to devote more time to these people who will enrich you than you do to less useful pursuits. You choose how you spend your time and attention. Make this an investment.
- Share the results of these rich interactions with your larger network in other one-to-many ways.
- Repeat. Always.
Both Julien and I think 2010 is the year people start paying much more attention to their networks. Part of my 3 words for 2010 is “Kings,” and part of how I’m describing that is to remind myself to spend more time with kings (and queens) who matter to me. Though your mileage may vary, I believe that people who work to deepen their networks instead of add numbers will find the best yield and value in coming years.
What say you?