After a welcome-back discussion with one of my mentors today, we began talking about mindset of the go-getter college student. We came to the conclusion that there are two types of go-getters. The first is the person who tries to meet as many people as possible and becomes thrilled by the idea of networking with many people. The second is the person who develops rich relationships.
Hundreds of books have been written about the importance of relationships, yet there are so many people out there who still don’t understand this idea.
One thing is certain; it’s about who you know, and not how many people you know. I would, without hesitation, take one of my strong relationships up against a person with hundreds of people they “know”. And I can guarantee that help would come quicker from the stronger relationship. The largest network is not always the best. In fact, the larger the network, the more difficult it becomes to maintain strong ties with everybody within the network.
For those who have been in a frenzy to meet as many people as possible, remember this. Slow down a little bit and develop stronger mutual relationships. Take the time to genuinely get to know the other person, and make sure they feel the same thing about you. Not only will you get more respect, but you will develop a stronger relationship that could provide a channel of assistance in the future. Once you focus on strength, you can develop the size. At this point, you will not have to worry about the reliability of the network.
So remember – despite what the cellular phone operators tell you, a stronger network is exponentially more important than a larger network.
Strength = Reliability
Connections are important. Without connections we couldn’t get from A to B, couldn’t use the phone, television, anything really. This weekend I spent time with my mother (love you mom!) at her 30-year High School Reunion in New York City. By the way, I’ve been living in New York City for the past two weeks and am working at Saatchi & Saatchi as an Account Management Intern. But that’s not the point.
Anyways, this period of reconciliation between people who haven’t seen each other in years was an interesting event to watch. And it brings me to stress the importance of connections between people.
In younger years people are forced to believe and identify themselves through exclusive social groups/cliques, which in many cases deter these people from making connections with others. As we grow more mature, it is essential to understand the importance of breaking these once mighty barriers between stereotypes and embrace and celebrate people for their differences.
I received a phone call yesterday, the first of its kind. A person who I was acquianted with in high school but not particularly close to, called me just to say hello. At first it was a little strange, but then I realized why she had made the call.
For this reason I believe it is important to take the time now and try to reestablish lost connections with people who you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise. A personal touch would be best (none of this Facebook messaging or poking), to show that you are sincerely trying to reestablish the connection. You will be surprised to find the wealth of knowledge every single person in the world holds within.
“It’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know”
This is a concept that is very important in the life of anybody in the world. We have transformed into a society of people constantly on the move. As Drish has mentioned before “there aren’t enough hours in the day”.
Drake has taken a great step in engraining this concept into the minds of its business students with a course about the basics of business.
Six degrees of separation.
The lines separating graduates from two differently ranked universities have blurred. And all it takes is knowing the right person. One phone call or email puts your foot halfway through the door. The other half is you.
“Never Eat Alone” by Keith Ferrazzi is a wonderful insight into the skill of building and maintaining strong inter-personal relationships. That’s the consistence of a strong network. It’s your “rolodeck” of people who you would stop at nothing to help, and who would stop at nothing to help you.
One of the things to remember, is that there are people anywhere and everywhere. New connections and networks are created every second. In the airport, at the mall, in a restaurant, the possibilities are endless.
The first step to establishing any kind of connection is finding a common ground or topic as a beginning. The weather is a common beginning, and depending on the situation, the possible topics are infinite. Ask Questions!
After establishing a common topic, it is also critical to introduce oneself, one’s university and major. Also, a strong handshake during the introduction wouldn’t hurt either. I believe this part is critical, because from personal experience, spotlighting one’s position as a college student just opens the possibilities even more. People with experience always seem to want to help college students. If you don’t believe me check out the film “Catch Me If You Can”, where Leo’s character stands in as a high school reporter. People love to share stories of their experiences, and what to do in order to gain your own.
As the conversation draws to a close it is also critical to thank the person for their time and always, and I mean ALWAYS, ask the person whether they have contact information or a business card. And ALWAYS, ALWAYS have a set of business cards with you. Carry around 30 and you’ll never run out. With the exchange of the business cards, part of the relationship is complete. (For business cards: VistaPrint)
The final step in the establishment of a relationship is the follow up. After receiving a person’s business card, be sure to follow up on the event as soon as possible. A quick email thanking the person for their time, referencing something that you talked about is a great idea. It may also be a good idea to propose a meeting in the future, when both of you have some time
My Personal Experience:
Just the other day I was getting the oil in my car changed, and as I sat in the waiting room of the wonderful Jiffy Lube, I couldn’t help but notice a man shake his head at the photo on the front page of the paper. After a recent spell of bad weather, the photo portrayed a towing company digging cars out from the side of the interstate. The man added this was the first time in 25 years he had seen such weather. As he was in his 40’s/50’s, I asked where he moved from and why he moved. I followed up with asking more questions about his experiences, which he was very happy to share with me. As the service on his car finished, I thanked him for the discussion, wished him a safe ride home and exchanged business cards.
Now why is this relevant? Why would I need the information of a person who owns a company that writes consumer vehicle reports for over 150 newspapers? Why would he need to know the information of a college student who likes traveling and photography?
What do you think?