The next time you attend a networking event or any event where people have gathered for a reason, look carefully around the room. Do you know everyone in the room? If not, is there any reason why you would not want to meet anyone you don’t already know?
If you don’t know everyone in the room, then you never know who might be there. You probably can’t meet everyone, but be open to meeting anyone you don’t already know. You might be just the person they needed to meet to help them address a pressing opportunity or solve a problem that matters to them.
If you are serious about growing your business or career, then whether in person or online (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twiter), be as open as possible to connecting to people you don’t already know. Operate with the intent to build bridges, not walls.
I’ve connected with a LOT of new people since I jumped into social media back in 2009. Most people have connected to me with good faith intentions, but a relative few have not. When someone I’ve connected to turns out to be a jerk, I simply sever the connection. It’s really not a big deal.
But some of these new connections have turned into a meeting over coffee in Denver, pizza in New York City, or a pint in London. I've done interviews for folks, and others have added value to my classes via Skype or a recorded message. Even more have turned into phone conversations or valuable e-mail exchanges. It's been amazing.
The new tools of social connection and sharing represent a fundamental strategic shift for me with respect to how I develop, share, and ultimately leverage my value with others. I’ve found social media to be an extremely efficient and fun way of connecting with interesting, valuable, and helpful people.
What do you think? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below!