Link Out: How to Turn your Network into a Chain of Lasting Connections

 

By Leslie Grossman, New York Chair, Vistage International, Leadership/Business Development Strategist

 

With a dad who was president of the local Optimist’s Club (and yes such a group exists and yes there is one for all you pessimists out there) and volunteer firefighter, and a mom who hosted her own radio show, volunteered with SCORE (Service Core of Retired Executives) and was a member of the PTA, it’s no surprise Leslie was elected to the student council at 13 and went on a lifelong “journey of joining,” that led to her writing this book.

 

While Link Out offers tips, examples, websites and case studies to help you find and build an entourage you can rely on for support and advice to grow your business or your network, it essentially boils down to a few key principals:

 

Have a Vision

  • With a vision, you can make a plan for your journey

Having a vision is so important because without one, it’s like traveling on a road with no destination. Also, when you focus on your vision, your subconscious mind leads you to direct your energy to achieve it. In fact, if your vision is powerful enough it can lead to a change in mindset, as well as your habits and actions.

 

“Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.”

~Japanese proverb

 

Connect in Person to Build Relationships

  • You need to get out and meet with people in the real world, not the virtual world

Successful leaders get out and network, because they know their most important work is not getting done at their desk. However, it’s important to network the “right” way. The best networkers are those who make the other person the star of the show. Leslie encourages thinking about the type of networker you are: the “supersonic” networker, (collecting as many cards as you can), the “nebbish” (Yiddish for nerd) networker, (staying on the sidelines) or the “self-absorbed” networker, (mainly talking about yourself). What determines successful networking is not the number of cards you collect but meeting in person and how you connect at the second meeting. When you establish a relationship with that person and share your goals, they have an opportunity to share it with their connections, “linking out” on your behalf.

 

Other networking tips:

  • Don’t be afraid to ask younger people to mentor you

  • Arm people with a “microphone” to champion you

  • Never sell, instead educate

 

“Relationships are like muscles, the more you work them, the stronger they become.”

~Keith Ferrazzie

 

Give More to Get More

  • The more you give the more you get; this is the unwritten law of the universe

Nothing builds self-esteem and confidence like doing good for others. And it’s good for you! A simple act of kindness results in an improvement in your immune systems and an increase in serotonin. Be true to your word and be the person others can rely on and trust. Always get back to people when you say you will, even if they haven’t done the same for you. Pay attention to what you say to people and whether you overpromise. A critical part of ones success and happiness is to activate your pay it forward philosophy.