We all have gifts and amazing natural strengths in certain areas of our lives, yet no matter how well we may perform in these areas. There are still parts of our lives where we need support and are not very adept or strong. These areas where we have weaknesses cause us to reach a chasm in our lives or businesses, where we are unable to proceed without the support of someone else. Identifying people with whom we can form mutually beneficial relations, who can assist us and whom we can support or help get what they want in return. Will accelerate our daily progress and help us achieve our goals.

Identifying and connecting with the right people, with whom you can form meaningful connection, is one of the main reasons for building a successful, mutually supportive network. Trying to build a successful business, without building a supportive network, using face to face networking events or the various Social Media platforms as tools to support your efforts, is like carrying a heavy suitcase without wheels at the airport. You very quickly feel tired and overwhelmed.

Creating an effective networking platform of mutually supportive people, who really connect and can depend on each other for support, is like walking at the airport along one of those travelators, with a perfectly balanced suitcase on wheels. You have momentum and quickly reach your destination. The same is true when you engage in effective networking and you form meaningful, mutual beneficial connection with the right people. You support each other and accelerate each other’s success.

The support you get from an effective, carefully chosen support network will make succeeding in both your personal and business lives feel effortless. It will feel like you have a travelator under your feet, speeding you along the path of success. Mutually beneficial connection with the right people is the catalyst, which will accelerate your ability to achieve all your goals and dreams.
Meaningful Relationships.

The Dunbar 150 theory states that we can only realistically have 150 meaningful relationships at any one time. The average Facebook user has around 130 friends. So this theory seems to hold true even with social media. This means that even though you may have built huge networks of connections via your social media platforms, you will only ever be able to communicate with these individuals on a daily basis; you will never be able to form any type of meaningful connection with them.

Oprah Winfrey, Donald Trump and Richard Branson have revealed in their biographies that their incredible success was supported and accelerated by about one to two dozen people. Your life is no different; the energy you are wasting on attempting to build meaningful connection with thousands of people via your various social media platforms is wasted. You would be far better off using your social media presence to support your networking efforts, where you can form meaningful connection with a smaller group of targeted individuals.

There are some opportunities that will come from communicating with a broader base of individuals via social media. You get to consistently communicate with a huge spectrum of different individuals. This opens up possibility and people, who you did not even think were potential connections, may contact you to connect. This has happened to me on a few occasions over the past few years.

In October last year I was contacted by someone from Dallas Texas to come over to the US and speak. I had never thought of going to Dallas, it was not even on my radar. The gentleman in question had been following my daily quotes for about eight months. He enjoyed my work and having seen the consistent quality of work I could produce, he wanted to see me speak in Dallas. I have enjoyed a couple of these windfalls over the past few years. I must however state that these have all been great experiences, but have contributed very little to the overall growth in my business. The consistent growth in my business has come from identifying targeted individuals within carefully chosen organisations and then building connection with them.

The very nature of social media offers us the opportunity to have thousands of connections. These connections open doors, which may have never opened, had we not had these connections. I must however state that if you are basing your entire marketing and networking strategy on building connection with thousands of strangers and then hoping they are going to contact you. You are going to struggle to get your business to grow.

Communicating with thousands of strangers via your social media platforms and then waiting for them to contact you, is like waiting to win the lottery before you become successful. Yes people do win the lottery, but the odds are really stacked against you. Use a strategy of consistently communicating to a wide base of people via your social media platforms to create awareness of who you are, build the perception of a huge presence in the market, create the perception in the market that you are an expert and in the rare case, to get people to contact you and do business with you.

There are many ways to expand the number of superficial connections you have. To get the maximum benefit from this part of your networking and marketing strategy, you can use some really powerful CRM software to assist you. By using customer relationship software it is possible to effectively connect with significantly more people. Your CRM software when managed properly will help you to keep track of your extensive network and to more effectively communicate with them. They by no means are a substitute for real face to face contact and relationship building. There are great tools available like Gist.com, rapportive.com and plaxo.com that make managing your social networks easier and more streamlined.

Treat everyone you meet like a VIP.

It is clear from everything stated above, that building a successful business is about developing meaningful connection with a targeted group of individuals. All other strategies are supplemental to this and in effect only support your efforts to connect with the right people. When you meet the right people, either via social media platforms or face to face networking events, ensure that you have their express permission before you add them to any mailing list or newsletter. You will very quickly alienate people if you follow this reckless strategy.
You build meaningful relationships by making people feel special

It is crucial that you take a real interest in everyone you meet and that you strive to treat them as VIP’s. Always try to go the extra mile by glancing at their bio on LinkedIn, Facebook or twitter, before going to any meeting with them. It is always great to have something to comment to people about when you meet them. Things like, it is great to meet a fellow engineer etc. will stand you in good stead to start a conversation and eventually develop meaningful connection with them. Even better would be to have an understanding of their interests or hobbies. People love to speak about their interests and will readily connect with you, if you have researched them and know a little about their background.

There is one word people love to hear more than any other, their name. Use people first names as often as realistically possible in any communication with them. This applies whether you are speaking to them in person or if you are communicating with them via email or on any of the social media sites. By using the sweetest sounding word in their vocabulary will build great rapport with everyone you interact with. Please make sure that you pronounce and spell people’s names correctly.
Connection is Crucial

Get out of the idea that you must always be in broadcast mode. This applies at face to face networking events and on your social media platforms. No one likes to interact with people that only push content or information one way. Respond to as many people within your social media network as possible. I try to comment on at least 3 targeted people’s blogs every day communicate with 5 targeted people on Facebook every day and join one or two targeted twitter conversations a day.

Strive to be someone, who always adds value to everyone around you, who helps and connects with people daily. Someone with whom people can connect to with confidence, form mutually beneficial relationships with, which will serve both parties, leaving everyone better off after making the connection. Successful networking either face to face or via social media is all about looking for ways to connect with and support other people. Always try to contribute as much as possible to the people in your network and they will return the favour.

These contributions must never be made with a hidden agenda. You must be completely transparent when supporting people in your network; people will know when you are not being authentic. As you build your social equity you will attract the right type of people into your network. The law of reciprocity will most certainly be activated and you will form great long term sustainable relationships with people that matter


Author's Bio: 

Andrew is an expert and master teacher that speaks and teaches self-leadership, expanded awareness, effectiveness, efficiency and productivity. He guides individuals and business professionals, to identify, prioritise and carry out the right activities, consistently, so that they can maximise their personal effectiveness and deliver their best; on time, every time. All the tools and techniques Andrew teaches; have been tested in the laboratory of his own life and the many successful businesses he has owned and led, over the past 20 years. These strategies have seen Andrew achieve financial independence and reach a point of harmonious balance in all areas of his life. His purpose is to help as many people as possible, achieve similar or better results and to show them how they can realise their full potential, both personal and professionally and to help them live a meaningful life, where they are fulfilled in all areas. http://www.andrewhorton.co.za