Archive

Posts Tagged ‘generous’

Dunbar’s Number – is it 22,500 in practice?

November 1, 2010 12 comments

There are probably two key numbers that are referred to in Personal Networking – they are 6 and 150. Six being from “Six Degrees of Separation” – the idea that everyone is at most six steps away from any other person on Earth. One Hundred and Fifty coming from Robin Dunbar, the British Anthropologist who created the theory that the limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships is 150 (Dunbar’s Number).

I’ve absolutely no problem with Dunbar’s work – and you will have seen in previous posts that I reference it a lot. However, I’ve always struggled with the “Six Degrees of Separation” bit. It’s not that I disagree with the theory – but I cannot see how it is usefully

…..Thank you for visiting. My blog has moved. You can find the rest of this post by clicking here.

applied to a Personal Network. Maybe I am being unambitious – but do I really want to make those 6 hops to meet Barack Obama or the Queen?

There was a good article by Michael Southon in the FT Weekend “Networking is all about quality”. It’s well worth a full read – and his sign off pointed me in the right direction:-

So my advice for all business people, whether they are expert networkers or more naturally reserved, is to go through your online address books, identify the 150 people you like most, and make some quality time for them.

The mathematics is on your side. They also have 150 people they like and trust, which makes a total of 22,500 people in your close circle, or one degree separated. Whatever you do for a living, this is easily enough potential business for you and your company.

Mike hit the nail on the head. There might be Six Degrees of Separation – but it’s the first level (where the trust is focussed) that you should put your energy into. This creates a magical (and believable) number of 22,500 people you could make a realistic connection with. Eureka!!

Now I understand why I get uncomfortable when LinkedIn tells me that my 194 Connections link you to 3,860,237+ professionals!! Unbelievable!!

Personal Networking is about building a community around you that has integrity, trust and generosity – and if each of those “connections” has a similar community … then a realistic group of 22,500 people can be your Personal Network. I’m comfortable with that….. Thank you, Mike.

Gentle Networking

October 15, 2010 4 comments

As you will know from previous posts – I really like the work/blogs/books of Chris Brogan. He’s just launched a new blog called Escape Velocity – and one of the first blog posts he has created is about “Gentle Networking”.

I can’t think of a better term to describe “how to” develop a Personal Network. His post is full of popular themes:-

GIVING

“it’s not what people can do for you; it’s what you can do for others.”

“That’s the secret. If you can do a lot for a lot of people without needing

…..Thank you for visiting. My blog has moved. You can find the rest of this post by clicking here.

the money, then the bigger ticket paybacks end up being amazing, and you end up having a strong and powerful network.”

“you MUST do these things without EXPECTING anything back. This is the super secret (and really really really hard to learn) part of this.”

This mantra is called “Pay it Forward” by Neal Schaffer, “Giver’s Gain” by Dr. Ivan Misner, “Don’t keep score” by Keith Ferrazzi and “Love Cats” by Tim Sanders.

FARMING – NOT HUNTING

“However, you can’t rush networking. You can’t rush friendship. You can’t rush the serendipity effect that happens from these experiences. Just like you can’t dig a hole, throw some seeds in, and wait a few minutes for the apple to fall into your hand, you have to grow your network slowly, and feed it value. You have to find opportunities to tend it, to give it light (by promoting others), and you have to give it plenty of water (or potential deal flow) to make it worthwhile.”

“We’ve connected each other with others in our networks. THIS is the longer value yield of gentle networking.”

Again, Dr. Ivan Misner’s puts this forward in his book “Networking Like a PRO” – and others follow the theme.

Chris is keen on “a face to face connection”. I’m also a fan of “real-life” relationships – and find that on-line networking is a poor substitute. However, I would take the view that with distant contacts (weak ties) on-line is an effective way to “ping” and keep in touch. I’m coming to the conclusion that the Pareto principle should be prescribed to networking time – 20% on-line (communicating efficiently with the many) and 80% real world (building deeper relationships with the few).

Chris’s “Gentle Networking” pulls together many of the key principles of Personal Networking so neatly. Do subscribe to Chris’s Escape Velocity blog and newsletter – it’s a good read (and hopefully a healthy supplement to this blog!).

Simon Johnson – BNI Master Networker (and thoroughly nice bloke!)

October 11, 2010 1 comment

I wrote a blog post yesterday about Simon Johnson. Simon has just won the accolade of being BNI’s (Business Network International) most successful networker in the UK – with £634,233 of business after creating 102 money-making referrals in 12 months. I said in the blog that I would try to track Simon down – and get his thoughts on networking (and what he thought about my blog).

Simon gave me a call this afternoon – after contacting him via email. He’s a thoroughly likeable chap – and you can understand why

…..Thank you for visiting. My blog has moved. You can find the rest of this post by clicking here.

his contacts want to spend time with him (and trust his referrals). He’s definitely a master networker – and says that “from networking as a whole I get 50% of my business – and BNI probably accounts for 10-20%.”

He has a great philosophy on networking: “Anyone can create a network – but you have to look after that network and keep in contact.” He’s got quite a reputation for knowing people – and his recommendation is obviously trusted. He quips: “people locally ring and use me as their Yellow Pages!”

He’s a big fan of BNI – and he talked me through how things work. He explained that the main principle BNI (and himself) is “Giver’s Gain”. They seem a very efficient organisation and monitor everything using “referral slips” and “thank you” notes. He did say it is “very American” – but once you cut through the jargon and adapt to a British audience it works well.

As an outsider to BNI, I’d certainly been confused (and probably misunderstood the model). BNI forms local “chapters” and in these, there can only be one representative of each trade. Simon explained that they operate a system of “Power Circles” – so for example he would spend most of his time with say Architects, Plumbers, Electricians, etc to make referrals. He estimates that involvement in BNI this year has brought his own business £60k. The Chapter meet weekly – early in the morning. All members start the session with a personal 60-seconds update – finishing with a catchy tagline (his is “For all your furniture and flooring – it’s simply Simon!”)

What I found refreshing was that the BNI model does not work on a commission/kick-back basis. As Simon told me: “No – you’d probably get drummed out of BNI if that went on.” The system works on having a network of professionals devoted to “Giver’s Gain”. Good stuff – if you are in a professional trade with a local client base, BNI must be worth a try. As you know if you have read previous posts, I am a big fan of Tom Peters – one of his mantras is “what gets measured, gets done!” … so I approve the measurement principle too.

Finally, we had a good chat about on-line vs. off-line marketing. I had done a bit of research on Simon’s on-line presence … and at this point it’s not prolific.

LinkedIn – Simon has 15 contacts currently
Twitter – Simon is currently not active – but is considering this
Website – currently “under construction” (news of the BNI award came in the middle of a redesign of the site)
Facebook – Personal – 401 Friends – and he says has had “a few jobs” through. Looks a fun guy to be around – describes employment as “Same shit I’ve been doing since I was 12” and lists activities as “Hockey, Alcoholism”.
Facebook – Business. 145 Members.

However, as we finished our call he told me he was off to a Round Table meeting. Another networking opportunity. I think that Simon is a great networker – and he’s doing a brilliant job “off-line”. With BNI, Round Table and his general network circle I am sure that he’ll be a better networker than any twitterer! All people interested in Personal Networks can learn from Simon – it’s so important to be generous and gain people’s trust. He obviously is excellent at both.

Nice bloke – and if you need furniture or flooring in East Anglia, Cambridgeshire or Lincolnshire, you should give him a call! 01945-476517.

LinkedIn Books – and “I wouldn’t want to belong to any club that would have me as a member”!

August 19, 2010 4 comments

It’s been quite a challenge writing a review for Neal Schaffer’s book “Understanding, Leveraging & Maximizing LinkedIn”. If you read my earlier blog – you will know that I think Neal’s site is one of the best resources for people starting to use LinkedIn. I’d also been enthused by the preface and early chapters of the book. In my fledgling attempts at blogging, I’ve also been fortunate to exchange a few emails (and Neal’s been nice enough to take time to comment on my blog and give advice).

Anyway, the good news is that after reading the book I like Neal even more! He’s a real enthusiast for life and LinkedIn – and the book has consistent themes that I agree with such as “Pay it Forward”, “Trusted Networks of Advisors” and “Dig Your Well before You’re Thirsty”. Some books I end up skimming through – but this one I lingered

…..Thank you for visiting. My blog has moved. You can find the rest of this post by clicking here.

on and enjoyed Neal’s personal presentation of each topic. It was fun learning about LinkedIn with him as the tutor. I certainly picked up ideas around Groups and Answers that I was not aware of – and got a real feel for LinkedIn’s corporate culture.

My one criticism (sorry Neal) – was the assumption that I was/wanted to be a “Windmill Networker”. I knew from Neal’s website that his company was Windmill Networking – but didn’t realise that he has such a strong desire for readers to be part of this “club”. Neal rightly impresses on the reader from the start of the book that you should consider carefully, clearly define (and stick to) your LinkedIn Objectives and Brand. I felt that the “Windmill Networker” emphasis detracted from my Objectives and Brand.

I feel bad about writing the above – as the few personal dealings, Neal’s blog and the enthusiasm that comes over in this self published book is infectious. So, I thought I would go out and buy another LinkedIn book/manual to compare. Enter “Sams Teach Yourself LinkedIn in 10 Minutes by Patrice-Anne Rutledge”….

This is a handy little book, clearly written and well illustrated. It’s a book you can easily flick through – and get a good set of instructions on anything you would practically want to do in LinkedIn. The author is obviously a skilled technical writer – as can be seen from her credits (e.g. The Truth about Profiting from Social Networking from Pearson/FT Press).

However, and I am VERY happy to say this, it wasn’t a patch on Neal’s book! The secret is that Neal writes as an enthusiast who discovered LinkedIn at a tricky time in his career (moving back to the US from Japan) – and learnt the system, worked the system … and selflessly shared/shares his knowledge with others. It is a “How to…” manual – but it’s also much more that that. It’s an impassioned, self-published work that helps “anyone” exploring the idea of developing their Personal Network through LinkedIn by showing IT CAN BE DONE – and helps them to do it! Go out and get yourself a copy….. (read more here)

Thank you, Neal – but do remember, some of us are of the Groucho Marx disposition … “I wouldn’t want to belong to any club that would have me as a member”!

Love is the Killer App – Tim Sanders – Book Review & Mind Map

July 14, 2010 1 comment

You will have seen earlier in the blog that Tim Sanders kindly let me quote a passage from his blog – SandersSays His reply to my request was very much in character: “Love it, Phil!  You have my permission – thanks for sharing the Love.”

Well, I thought that with such a positive reply – I should read the 2002 First Edition copy of his book that I’d found second hand on Amazon … and make it my first book review on the blog.  Here goes…

The book was read in one session (on a nice sunny day in the garden!).  The “Knowledge” and “Network” sections are a particularly

…..Thank you for visiting. My blog has moved. You can find the rest of this post by clicking here.

good read.  One of the lessons learnt from the book was that if you are going to read a book – take some serious notes and note down at the end what you think the Big Thought was from the book.

I’ve never been a great note taker – but thought I would try to Mind Map the book with the software that I am keeping my “Personal Network” Network up to date on – MindMeister.  Take a look at the MindMap of Tim’s Book – I’d be interested to see if this is helpful to others?

The three elements that I took from the book were:-

* In the business world it can be a very successful strategy to be generous and giving. He has a great mantra – NSPS “Nice, smart people succeed.”
* An important tool in this giving process is sharing knowledge with your friends and contacts. Tim has an excellent perspective on books which I will share later.
* A healthy network is “fed” by you making connections through giving & sharing your knowledge with others.

The book is a useful source if you are looking for some ideas on business reading. Although the book is now a little dated (published first in 2002) – I suspect that the references are still very relevant to business today. Take a look at the MindMap – there’s lots of references to Tim’s favorite books throughout. Certainly, Malcolm Gladwell’s “The Tipping Point” is next on my reading pile (and that’s mentioned frequently),

Tim emphasises the positive aspects for you and your network in giving and sharing ideas.  He puts forward that you should be the hunter/gatherer of information for your network.  He also sees that through this knowledge base you should evangelise about new ideas.  It’s an interesting concept – and Tim seems to have a humble approach to this (it’s know that he knows it all – he just knows a new idea through a book he has read by someone else.)

This theory will appeal to those with a thirst for knowledge (I’d count myself amongst these folk).  It also gives you a positive application for that knowledge by giving to your network selflessly.  Tim has a cool way of working out what he reads (he use the analogy for dining) with Magazine Articles – Between-meal snacks, News Media (electronic or print) – Candy & Soda, fun to eat, but hardly appropriate to live on and (his favourite!) Books – the complete thought meal.  It’s changed my perspective – and when you think that the other lighter meals are shoveled with those nasty additives (advertising!), you can see why books get a big thumbs up.

I liked the section on Networks.  I share the desire to impart information to others – and he talks well about fusing connections with this.  It’s also not a cynical view of giving in order to receive back (either payment as a broker – or expectation of a favour in return).  Interestingly he illustrates through personal examples how at the edges this can go wrong (when people he introduce cut him out of a deal) and when it goes right (when a contact – out of the blue – gives him share in his company that floats).

My British reserve makes me cringe slightly through the final “Compassion” section.  I’m not the huggy/touchy feely type – so this is a little lost on me.  Maybe if I meet Tim at some point and he gives me a hug I will understand the “Love”.

In summary, on my journey exploring personal networks, this is a fantastic book that helps you to understand the principle of giving generously to feed a network and applying yourself to gaining knowledge to to have something relevant to offer to your network.  I like the core principle of selflessness in that giving (very much like Keith Ferrazzi’s not keeping score in my earlier blog.)  I would also say, that personally, Tim’s tips on encoding and processing books are excellent – and will be in my blogging/networking toolkit from now on.

Great book – “Loved it!”.  Thank you, Tim.

Don’t Keep Score – Generosity is the key to a successful Personal Network

July 7, 2010 3 comments

As mentioned in my previous post – I’ve been reading (and getting inspired by) Keith Ferrazzi’s book “Never Eat Alone”. Some of the presentation is definitely aimed at the US market (who are much more “forward” than us shy/retiring Brits) – but the principles dealt with in the book are excellent.

There are several areas that Keith deals with that are key elements of building a strong, supportive Personal Network. He explains these well – and puts forward some illustrative personal stories and anecdotes that bring these principles in focus.

There is a thread through the book – and is supported by many other blogs, articles and books that I have been

…..Thank you for visiting. My blog has moved. You can find the rest of this post by clicking here.

reading – that generosity is an absolutely crucial element of building a Personal Network. Following the Farming analogy from the previous post about Dr. Ivan Misner – you reap what you sow!

Early in Keith’s book “Never Eat Alone” there is a chapter called Don’t Keep Score. I particularly like this extract (reproduced with permission) to illustrate the point:-

“A network functions precisely because there’s recognition of mutual need. There’s an implicit understanding that investing time and energy in building personal relationships with the right people will pay dividends. The majority of “one percenters”, as I call the ultra-rich and successful whom many of my mentees aspire toward, are one percenters because they understand this dynamic – because, in fact, they themselves used the power of their network of contacts and friends to arrive at their present station.

But to do so, first you have to stop keeping score. You can’t amass a network of connections without introducing such connections to others with equal fervor. The more people you help, the more help you’ll have and the more help you’ve have helping others. It’s like the Internet. The more people who have access, and use it, the more valuable the Internet becomes. I now have a small army of former mentees, succeeding in any number of industries, helping me to mentor the young people that come to me today.

This is not softhearted hokum; it’s an insight that hard-headed business people would do well to take seriously. We live in an interdependent world. Flattened organizations seek out strategic alliances at every turn. A growing pool of free agents are finding the need to work with others to accomplish their goals. More than ever before, zero-sum scenarios where only one party wins often mean, in the long run, that both parties will lose. Win/win has become a necessary reality in a networked world. In a hyper-connected marketplace, cooperation is gaining ground on competition.

The game has changed.”

It’s an excellent (and fundamental point) for Personal Network growth – well expressed by Keith. It sets me a serious challenge as I try to find a way to visualise (and value) Personal Networks … because the inclination is always to keep score! How do you measure the strength of the Personal Network without getting in to the frustratingly anal world of CRM solutions which track every dot and comma of commercial relationships!

I am sure this topic will come up again and again – if your Personal Network grows through your genuine generosity – how can you really know your network without giving some value to your individual “giving”?

I am halfway through Keith’s second book “Who’s Got Your Back” – good read so far … maybe there will be further inspiration on this topic in there. If I like the book, I might even become a student at Keith’s Relationship Masters Academy: http://www.relationshipmastersacademy.com/

%d bloggers like this: