Written by guest blogger: Janet McNaughton - President, Lasting Impressions
Last Spring, Janet presented at a workshop for exhibitors of the Northwest Event Show. In her introductory story was an idea that can radically expand your business prospects in a matter of months.
“What do Paul Revere and William Dawes have in common, and what is the business lesson?” she asked.
Paul Revere and William Dawes both rode the night of April 18, 1775 to sound the alarm that the “red coats” were coming. However, Paul Revere is the only one who raised a militia and is famous for his effort. What could possibly account for the difference?
The answer: Paul Revere was an “information broker.” (Read the article in The Harvard Business Review.)
One of the more interesting details of the legendary midnight ride is Revere knew whom to alert. He had helped organize the intelligence and alarm system. When the British launched their boats in the Charles River, two lanterns were lit in the Old North Church, and over thirty additional riders covered the territory along the route.
An information broker is a “connector,” one of the three types of influencers mentioned by Malcolm Gladwell in his first book, Tipping Point.
Connectors influence by their associations. They are “natural hubs.” They are, in other words, great networkers.
Fortunately, networking is a powerful business advantage anyone can learn. It’s just good business for all professionals regardless of professional expertise. The three key advantages are:
Private Information: Networkers trust each other and share key market information that is not accessible publicly.
Access to Diverse Skillsets: The smartest thing you can do to achieve the next level of success, is to get help from somebody who has a skill you lack.
Power. Our natural “tribes” are clustered. A networker can link these clusters, creating exponential connection growth for everyone in the system. This concept is core to the Lasting Impressions Face2FaceX for driving business.
Are you an Information Broker? To diagnose your network, fill in the attached grid.
If over 65% of your brokers are “me,” you are falling prey to a couple of common tendencies:
We all tend to start there. We are drawn to people like ourselves, who make everything easier. We already understand each other and the environment we share. It’s efficient to rely on this group. Unfortunately, we’re likely to keep getting the same results by limiting ourselves to the same comfortable resources.
Similarly, most of us associate with the people we bump into in the course of our day. They are our coworkers, neighbors, family, old school friends, and a few others we know because of our kids. They are on our normal route through life.
To ramp up your ability to become an information broker, cultivate powerful brokers and reciprocate by becoming an influencer yourself. The secret:
Shared Activity Principle
Stated simply, get involved. A networking activity should be something that matters to the participants. They will already be committed to the activity and eager to join you as you work toward a common goal. You will build trust by being sincere, reliable, and effective. You will meet people outside your cluster of associates and find ways to link people with others in increasingly widening circles, who share their goals. By associating closely with people outside your “self similarity” circle, you will absorb diverse perspectives that will inform great business decisions and accelerate your networking capacity.
To bring the proximity principle home to your next team meeting, consider giving everyone a useful double-sided business card holder or a notepad.
Double Sided Business Card Case, 1-Color & 4-Color TucNotes, 2-Sleeve Business Card Case
Even better, how about hosting an event to draw a wide range of guests from a shared activity you become involved with? Sporting events and tailgating are a great way to mix business with fun!
BBQ Cooler Kit and Portable Charcoal Kit
At Lasting Impressions, we believe in the business partnership philosophy “better together.“ Networking is at the heart and soul of “Face2FaceX”, the concept of expanding your personal, or “face to face” impact exponentially.