Networking Rx: LinkedIn Debate: Quantity v. Quality (EPS 180)

Frank Agin, host of Networking Rx and founder of AmSpirit Business Connections, delves into the debate amongst LinkedIn users as what matters – the quantity of connections versus the quality of connections.

http://networkingrx.libsyn.com/linkedin-debate-quantity-v-quality-eps-189

For more information on AmSpirit Business Connections and its franchise opportunity program, contact Frank Agin at frankagin@amspirit.com or visit http://www.amspirit.com/franchise.php.

Warning For Social Media Networking

Far too often, people figuratively chain themselves to their computer and clank away in LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter hoping to create business for themselves. While they may stumble onto some, it seldom reaches the level they hope for.

Know this… Social media (and especially LinkedIn) is not a sales machine… it is not an order-taking system…it is not an ATM. It is merely a tool that you can use to better network yourself … It is not a replacement for networking.

Think of it in terms of this analogy … We networked before we had phones. People worldwide and people in this country built vast and complex civilizations long before they had any sort of electronic telecommunications. They were able to network themselves … Word-of-mouth, couriers and carrier pigeons did the trick. Back in the day, people did business and associated with those they knew, they liked and they trusted.

When the telephone came along, it did not change the underlying aspects of networking. It just made it easier. But they still did business with those they knew, they liked and they trusted. The telephone was just a tool.

The same is true of social media (such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter). It is just a tool. It is not networking. It is just a tool to make it easier to get to know people, determine if we like them, and then ultimately trust them.

Networking And Social Media

In the early days of the Internet, companies built websites and supplied all the content. They knew that it was critical to have fresh content as often as possible so people would come back to their site. And if people didn’t come back, then they knew they would be far less attractive to potential advertisers.

We all know how this story ended. People invested millions in these websites, stock was sold on Wall Street and in the end, people lost billions and the economy was thrust into a recession of sorts.

While some proclaimed the World Wide Web as just a fad, others re-tooled and took a new approach to the Internet. Many sites, such as Amazon and WebMD, still depend on having fresh content to keep people coming back. Many developers, however, took a new approach, creating websites where the online content is created everyday by millions of average people using highly accessible and scalable publishing technologies. These developers look to people like you and me to write about what is interesting to us and share things we deem important or entertaining. This development, known as Social Media, completely shifted how people discover, read, and share news, information and other content.

Certainly, social media gets a bad rap. It can be viewed as an expansive online rumor mill or coffee club. If you approach it correctly, however, it can be a valuable networking tool.

There are many different types of social media, including the big three – LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Beyond those are dozens of others. YouTube is a form of social media just for sharing video. Instagram and Pinterest are for sharing images.

There are sites geared entirely for small business and some just for attorneys … Or writers. The point is that there are tons of different types of social media. Some have better business applications than others, but there are lots of ways to connect with people on the Internet now.

Networking Rx: You Just Never Know (EPS 164)

Frank Agin, host of Networking Rx, shares an experience trying to connect two people and makes the point that you never know what can become of these connections, so have the courage to lean into them.

http://networkingrx.libsyn.com/you-just-never-know-eps-164

For more information on AmSpirit Business Connections and its franchise opportunity program, contact Frank Agin at frankagin@amspirit.com or visit http://www.amspirit.com/franchise.php.

The Strength Of Weak Ties

In addition to the types of people in your network, you need to consider the extent to which you know people in your network.

In Getting A Job, author and sociologist Mark Granovetter found that 56% of people found jobs through personal contacts. Not surprising. After all, it is not “what you know, but who you know.” 

The surprise was that the personal contacts used to obtain these jobs were not family or friends – “close ties”. Rather most could be classified as “weak ties”.  55.6% reported that they saw their “job-producing” contact only occasionally and 27.8% saw their contact only rarely.

So, when it comes to job hunting – or finding clients – weak ties tend to be more important than strong ties.

Why? Because close ties tend to occupy the same world as you do. A spouse or close friend may share many of the same network contacts as you and is likely to only refer or connect you to people you already know.

Mere acquaintances, or “weak ties”, on the other hand, are much more likely to know people that you do not. While you might share a small overlap in networks, most of the people they know are completely unknown to you.

The take-away? Do NOT rely solely on close ties to fortify your network. A better means is to associate with people you don’t know well – the person from work that you know casually from meetings or trips on the elevator; the person you see every week at church but, beyond a name, you know little else about.

From a networking perspective, the most valuable people aren’t those closest to you. In fact, the more people you know who aren’t close to you, the stronger your position becomes.

In summary, the quality of your relationships matters and one measure of quality is the strength or weakness of the tie. Having lunch with your long-time best buddy can be fun but does little to build your network. If you want to build your network, have lunch with someone you know … but not that well.

The “Kevin Bacon” Game

Kevin Bacon is a popular American actor. The idea behind the Kevin Bacon game is to link any actor or actress to Kevin Bacon through the movies they’ve been in. 

For example: Mary Pickford was in “Screen Snapshots” with Clark Gable, who was in “Combat America” with Tony Romano who, 35 years later, was in “Starting Over” with Kevin Bacon.  Three Steps.

In the 1990s, computer scientist Brett Tjaden determined that Kevin Bacon was on average 2.8312 steps from any actor or actress, which placed him 668th of all actors and actresses. Then he determined the overall connectivity of a host of other actors and actresses. Among the top 50 were names such as Martin Sheen, Robert Mitchum, Gene Hackman, Donald Sutherland, Rod Steiger, and Shelly Winters.

Duncan Watts and Steven Strogatz further attempted to determine why actor Burgess Meredith, who appeared in 114 films, ranked in the top 20 when Gary Cooper, with a similar number of films, ranked 878th, and John Wayne, with 183 films to his credit, only ranked 160th.

They concluded that while Gary Cooper and John Wayne appeared in a significantly greater number of movies, the movies were of a similar type. In fact, over 50% of John Wayne’s movies were westerns.

Burgess Meredith, on the other hand, appeared in fewer but a greater variety of films: 42 dramas, 22 comedies, 8 adventures, as well as action, documentary, science fiction, horror, western, thrillers, crime, children, romance, mysteries, and even a musical and one animated film.

What can you take away from the Kevin Bacon game? If your network looks like Burgess Meredith’s career, with lots of variety and diversity, you’re probably doing great! But if your network resembles John Wayne’s career – lots of connections but from relatively few sources – you need to diversify.

To explore the real potential of your network, you need to live in lots of worlds – work, church, PTA, youth sports, trade association outside your profession, etc.

262) Network Building From 1,000 Acts

In China for the better part of a 1,000 years, the government practiced a form of torture known as “Death From A Thousand Cuts.” Under this form of execution, the convicted person was not killed mercifully. Rather the villain was executed by a series of daily small incisions. These collectively over time spelled doom for the condemned.

Establishing a strong network is truly the reverse of this. You successfully build a network by consistently performing literally thousands of small and seemingly insignificant acts.

You flash a big, happy smile thousands of times. You perform thousands of kind acts. You exhibit reliability with unfailing consistency thousands of times. No one smile, or single kind act, or individual demonstration of dependability has any significance in and of itself. Collectively, however, they have an immense power to build your network.

Knowing that it takes thousands of insignificant acts to build a great network, continually ask yourself, “What seemingly, meaningless network building act am I doing right now?”


Like what you’ve read? Prefer to hear it as a podcast or daily flash briefing? Subscribe to the Networking Rx Minute podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts.


258) Be Grateful

In the book Be Connected: Strategies To Attract The Right Opportunities, Connections And Clients Through Effective Networking, consultant, speaker, and author Terry Bean writes:

“Being grateful for what you have is far more powerful than complaining about what you lack.”

He goes on to explain that maintaining an attitude of gratitude allows you to have the right mindset. It’s from this proper attitude that you actually attract more of what you seek.

The human mind focuses on and becomes attuned to situations in your mind. If you dwell on life’s imperfections (and we all have them), you’ll find more and more of them. And, in time, become consumed by a downward spiral of negativity.

But if you focus on and become grateful for whatever you have, your brain will work to attract more of it. Be thankful for all the wonderful things in life … personal and professional … and you’ll find that additional goodness will come your way.


Like what you’ve read? Prefer to hear it as a podcast or daily flash briefing? Subscribe to the Networking Rx Minute podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts.


Networking Rx: Ways To Fail At Networking (EPS 136)

In preparation for the New Year, Frank Agin, founder and president of AmSpirit Business Connections and host of Networking Rx, discusses Adam Connors’ (@thenetworkwise) article on networking gone wrong and how to fix it. Read it at: http://www.networkwise.com/the-8-most-common-ways-people-fail-at-networking/?fbclid=IwAR3HkqCCbuFG-8KrR7S8nfEqNg9eY2MjVbW-nFhDtbywI67UzRS0xXZuncw

http://networkingrx.libsyn.com/ways-to-fail-at-networking-eps-136

For more information on AmSpirit Business Connections and its franchise opportunity program, contact Frank Agin at frankagin@amspirit.com or visit http://www.amspirit.com/franchise.php.

Networking Rx: Kay Coughlin on Listening & Relationships (EPS 135)

Frank Agin, founder and president of AmSpirit Business Connections and host of Networking Rx, talks with Facilitator on Fire CEO Kay Coughlin (@FacilitatorOF) about listening across the multiple generations in society today. For great free resources go to http://facilitatoronfire.net/resources/

http://networkingrx.libsyn.com/kay-coughlin-on-listening-relationships-eps-135

For more information on AmSpirit Business Connections and its franchise opportunity program, contact Frank Agin at frankagin@amspirit.com or visit http://www.amspirit.com/franchise.php.