If you're a serious Networker, Vancouver is the place to be! Every day, lots of people are meeting lots of people and many new relationships are being forged. And, although this appears to be working, I find myself wondering … is it really working?
I recently stumbled across an article that made me question the effect of today's obsession with Professional Networking. Researchers from Michigan State University and the US Navy discovered that people make double, sometimes even triple the errors immediately after they are interrupted, even if it's only for a few seconds. (Success Magazine, May 2013, p. 18). Scientists have actually given this phenomenon a name: the Resumption Lag. Apparently multi-tasking acts like a brake to momentum.
Is it possible that this same phenomenon could apply to networking too? Could it be that our constant pursuit of new relationships is negatively affecting our personal and professional momentum?
I fully acknowledge that Networking is a vital activity for serious business owners who want to succeed. On virtually any day or night, there are several networking events being held in Vancouver, events created to help us meet new people and develop relationships with potential. In response, there is ample support and training to enhance your networking results, and luckily, we have lots of opportunities to practice.
When we're out there, actively increasing the size and scope of our network, can our existing network still develop into a powerful web of relationships that is robust, deep and fulfilling? How many relationships do we really need to achieve our goals and dreams? I believe that we could be more effective and achieve better results if we weren't so distracted by the sheer magnitude of potential opportunities generated by our busy activities.
It has been documented over and over again that it is more efficient and more profitable to maintain and grow our relationships with our existing clients than pursue new clients. Similar to this, I believe that our greatest opportunities will arrive because of the quality and integrity of the network we already have.
As it happens, I was introduced to someone new recently, we had a brief conversation, then met for coffee. Then met again. And our professional relationship continues to develop. In our last conversation, he made an interesting statement, which was both powerful and impactful. He said “I want people to refer me like they would refer their babysitter”.
That statement speaks volumes. We wouldn't want every single 12-14 year old out there to babysit our children. We would only want the gems, the ones we could rely on so deeply that we would trust them with the big responsibility of caring for our most precious treasures. What if we were to invest the time to develop a robust network with that degree of integrity? A network with such a deep and solid foundation that it won't crumble or fail in tough times, but rather protect us from risk and help us rise up to more fulfilling opportunities.
Perhaps if we, as a professional community, were to take a little more time to truly identify the outstanding gems in our network, and focus on those relationships to develop stronger foundations, we might all be more successful.