How to be a Consummate
“Creative Connector”

Presented by Deborah Schwartz Griffin

My definition of networking is being a “creative connector helping and serving other people by actively listening for what’s important to them and how I can help. Then connecting ideas I heard, to people I know, and following through, following through and following through. It’s not just “knowing” people that makes one a “creative connector” it’s what you do with what you know that makes you a master at it.

BEFORE

Know yourself—your strengths. This is your Power.
Before going into any networking situation, understand first and foremost your “USP”—Unique Selling
Proposition—and what differentiates you so you can tell your story “when asked” with confidence.

Step 1: Preparation is key . Before attending any networking event do your homework and understand the
following:

  • a. Audience – Who is attending and do they meet your target market for your business or your
    personal needs.
  • b. Size of Group – How large determines how much time you will need to spend with each person.
  • c. Arrival – Get to the event early so you have the time to meet people and build relationships.
  • d. Time – Plan to balance the time you spend with each person (depending on your goals and the
    number of people in attendance) with the time the actual program will start.
  • e. Subject Matter – Does this event really make sense for me to attend based upon my company or
    my personal – Mission, Vision, USP, Strategic Objective, Pressing Need or Concern, Current
    Priorities, etc?
  • f. Cost – Does going to this event meet my budgetary goals? Cost Benefit Analysis is key.
  • g. Ask yourself – Will going to this event make a difference for me personally, for my company or
    for how I can help others (can be part of your personal or business goals as well).

DURING

Step 2: Helping and serving other people. Focus on building a relationship through being a caring person that is
genuinely interested in what’s important to the individual you are talking with.

Step 3: Ask questions. There is no greater way of showing the person you are talking with that they are important
and that you care by asking questions that show you are trying to help. These questions can focus on their
company mission, vision, objectives, “USP” etc. By asking questions about them you are uncovering both
their personal and professional needs. When this rapport is built and set only then does it make sense to
exchange business cards.

Step 4: Take notes. This is controversial in that some feel it’s not appropriate to take notes and brainstorm at your
first meeting, but to contact them the next day and get into specifics. I feel that it’s a combination of both
jotting down a memory point that will help trigger your call the next day to get into a recap of what you
learned about them and how you can help them.

AFTER

Step 5: Follow through, follow through, follow through.

  • a. Review your business cards and notes and call the individuals you met when you said you were going to
    call or email them. There’s nothing worse than not doing what you said you were going to do.
  • b. Work your list – If they said they wanted to help you and you don’t work your list you are missing an
    opportunity as much as they are.
  • c. Integrity and Honest are key. Unfulfilled promises are the worst. Integrity and honesty is key here and
    that means if you said you were going to call, email or fax them—do it! The absolute worst is not
    returning phone calls or emails.
    Focus on building a relationship that lasts for a Reason, a Season or a Lifetime!

Must Reading:
1. Power Netweaving – by Bob Littell. Bob’s second book, coming out soon!
2. Mr. Shmooze – The Art and Science of Selling Through Relationships by Richard Abraham
3. Power Networking – 55 Secrets for Personal & Professional Success by Donna Fisher and Sandy Vilas