Since my last post (Network With Finesse), I have received several emails from you asking some great questions.
The key question seems to be: How can I make a valuable contact without being aggressive or proactive? If I can ‘get to’ a very important person, why wouldn’t I seize that opportunity? In other words, if you see an important/famous/networked person why wouldn’t you try and ‘network’ with them?
My answer is to distinguish prospecting from networking. Prospecting is where you search for value, interrupt with a pitch and then hopefully deliver enough value to make some sort of connection worthwhile.
Networking, on the other hand, is a relationship builder and should be looked at as a gift that you give others with no expectations of being repaid — not a way of getting ahead.
To network, then, the key is to be of equal or greater social value than your networking subject. This way, you network from a position of strength. This also prevents you from coming across as an annoyance, since you are only trying to give a gift.
When properly done, networking produces surprise and delight in others and will build your personal brand.
Check out my first book, Love Is The Killer App: How To Win Business And Influence Friends for more on networking.