The Critical Pillars of Making Quality Contacts and Connections

How to meet people, manage contacts, build and develop relationships for business and career success

Business has always relied on effective interaction between people to generate opportunities. People acquire a vast amount of their success, breakthroughs, knowledge and resources through other people. Unfortunately, even professionals whose careers and business results are completely dependent on meeting people, managing contacts and building relationships do not seem to appreciate the importance of these critical skills.

You have probably heard stories of men and women, young and old that met complete strangers in the aircraft, buses, churches, mosques, neighborhoods, conferences, parties etc. who opened up to these strangers, introduced themselves, started a conversation; subsequently developed a relationship, managed the contacts and had their lives, businesses, careers, income, etc. turned around for good. It can be that simple. But the key word here is MET! They met the strangers. There was a contact. There was a connection. 

Sometimes, these are meetings between lowly placed people and highly influential people. At other times, it can be a meeting between someone who needed information and another person that had information, between someone who needed help and one who had help, between one who needed direction and one who knew the way. There was a contact. There was a meeting. A contact, a meeting with the potentials to change lives.

Talent alone will not save you in today’s economy. Oh talent is good and important, but there are many talented musicians wasting in the streets today; there are many footballers talented and good enough to play in the biggest clubs in the world, who are wasting in bad pitches across the country; there are many talented painters, fashion designers, etc. who are living in penury. These people have no challenge with talent. They have a big issue with contacts. They have a big issue with the quality of their contacts.

Tuface Idibia, the African Queen Superstar crooner, is not the most talented artiste in Nigeria. Neither is the P-Square duo, D-banj or even 9ice. The most talented artistes are found playing in local bars, they’re in the villages, in churches, singing with wonderful voices, but they need more than their talent to become superstars.

Without attempting to detract the hard work and talent of Tuface, I dare say that he would not have become the superstar he is today if he had not met the duo of D1 and Kenny and been signed on by Kennis Music. He probably would not have been as big as he is today. All those great talents in the local bars singing “ayaga-yaga-yaga-yo” will need someone like Kennis Music, Malvin Records, etc. to take them from being local superstars to becoming international superstars.

There are so many talented footballers that are wasting in the rural areas. Austin ‘’Jay-Jay’’ Okocha, the former captain of the Nigerian senior team, was a talented midfielder! But, even in his hey days, he was not the most talented midfielder in Nigeria. There were many other talented midfielders playing in local fields in the villages. Nobody discovered them. They had the talent, but it was not sufficient to bring them out of obscurity. Oh yes, talent will make room for a man, but you need more than talent to survive.

The traditional advice to get more training and education is fantastic, but insufficient on its own to launch you. Your education and qualifications will not necessarily guarantee you a good job. Of course, I encourage you to get a good education and obtain good qualifications. But I am sure that there were classmates of yours who were head and shoulders more intelligent than you, who made better grades, who have MBAs from the best universities in the world but who are earning peanuts. The problem is not with their education, qualification or competence. The problem is with the quality of their contacts.

Your product, price, promotion and place will not on their own guarantee you good sales. You know why? For every product of your company, other companies have similar products – only with a different name. Other companies can give as much discount as you; can make as much noise by way of jingles and adverts as you do; can open as many branches as your company. If you are a salesperson, your figures will be a reflection of the number and quality of the contacts that you have.

The government will not save you. No matter how good a government is with policies and programs, you will still find poor people. And no matter how bad a government is, you will still find people who are doing very well.  Sure, it’s critical that government provides the enabling environment for us to prosper. However, you need more than your talent, you need more than your education, you need more than your product and you need more than the government to save you.

You need quality contacts. You need a good network.

I strongly believe that we should all be passionate about building business and social networks – vertical and horizontal. Of course, the more powerful your network, the more primed you are to maximizing your potentials and achieving your aspirations in life. I strongly believe that the quality of your life cannot be greater than the quality of your contacts and network. If you had better contacts, your life would have been better than it is today. Your business would have been flourishing better. The value of the business you are managing today is a reflection of the quality of your contacts. Put another way, the more and better people you meet and connect with, the higher the quality of your life.

Critical Question: Who Do You Need To Meet?

  1. Who do you need to meet to fulfill your purpose, realize your vision and achieve your goals in life?
  • Who do you need to meet to get a good job?
  • Who do you need to meet to get that contract?
  • Who do you need to meet to obtain a scholarship?
  • Who do you need to meet to get grants and donations?
  • Who do you need to meet to get a government appointment?
  • Who do you need to meet to get spiritual counsel for the burden on your soul?
  • Who do you need to meet to get medical help for your health challenges?
  • Who do you need to meet to get admission for yourself or your ward?
  1.  Who do you need to meet to attract amenities to your community?
  1.  Who do you need to meet to showcase your talent?
  1. Who do you need to meet to win that election?

WHO DO YOU NEED TO MEET? Networking is about answering that question. Who do I need to meet to move my life, my life business and my life career a notch higher? Who do I need to meet to unleash and maximize my potentials? Who do I need to meet to solve the problems that I cannot solve on my own? To deal with the issues I can’t handle alone?

I sometimes see and think of wasted lives everywhere. I see people who have wasted or are wasting their lives, not because they don’t possess the potential or talents, not because they are not determined and hardworking; but because there is no connection between their talents or potential and the people who can help them. So, talent, dreams and huge potential are wasted because of the lack of the ‘meet factor”. They have not met the right people.

Business and social networking is the bridge between your latent talent or potential and the crystallization of the potential.

This book will offer you practical tips, techniques and step-by-step actions you can start implementing immediately to meet and connect to the right individuals and the groups that you desperately need to achieve your targets, dreams and aspirations at work, in business and in your life.

In this book we would be examining what business and social networking is, the benefits of networking, the competencies, traits and habits of successful networkers, how to plan for networking, the right places to go for networking, the tools for networking, the etiquettes, subtleties and rules of networking, how to introduce yourself to strangers, how to initiate a conversation, how to sustain a conversation, how to join a conversation, how to end a conversation, how to network in different platforms, how to use social media for networking, how to manage contact information, how to manage relationships effectively, how to make the relationship symbiotic and how to convert your network into a good net worth. This is a practical, how-to book.

TABLE OF CONTENT

Dedication  Vii
Introduction: Who Do You Need to Meet?  ix
Part One: Critical Underpinnings of Making Quality Contacts and Connections  xv
Chapter 1: What Really is Business and Social networking?   Knocking on a door before you know what is inside the roomSwimming with the tideBeing known is more important than knowing peopleIt’s about today, tomorrow and the futureDo you have enough mass and velocity?It’s is a sequence, make every step countCreating a web of defense  3 7 16 17 20 22 24 28
Chapter 2: The Misconceptions About Networking29  
Chapter 3: What the Right Contacts and Connections Can do for You   Knowledge and experience of other peopleMassive opportunities are openedLess hard workReap where you did not sowStrength in numbersBreak barriers and protocol Achieve your goals and aspirations fasterBe a blessing to othersPlatforms for making quality friendsHelps you monitor and assess the direction of your lifeDo you like the man in the mirror?The power to be bigger than yourselfA good network can provide you real job securityStrategy for business acceleration  35 42 42 43 44 45 46 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 54
Chapter 4: The Competencies and Traits of Superior Networkers   Others before selfClarity of purposeMadly in love with meeting peopleThe world is waiting for me to manifestHot and impassionedTime management and self-organizationI will work for it and wait in hopePuts the ear, mouth and eyes to workCultural humilityCourteous Open handsSee me, so you can listen to meI am in charge of meI blow my trumpetThink out of the box or break the boxGood memoryAwesome attitudeExcellent personal and work ethicsSubconsciously competent  57   64 65 68 72 74 76 78 81 82 83 83 84 86 88 89 90 90 94 95
Chapter 5: Planning for Business and Social Networking   What are my networking goals?What is the relationship between my goals and networking?Where do I network now?Where should I network?Who are the key people I need to meet?Where would I meet those who have achieved what I want to achieve?Do I need a networking mentor?Do I have networking competence?What organizations should I investigate and possibly join?How many hours a week should I dedicate to networking?Do I have networking tools?Do I have my personal commercial ready?What is my current network comfort level?  101   103 104 105 106 106 107 107 107 108 108 108 110 110
Chapter 6: Where to Harvest Quality Contacts and Connections   Your neighbourhoodAlumni associationsIndustry associationsConferences, seminars, trainings and workshopsTrade associationsYour office environmentCommunity associationsSocial clubsSports and hobby-based association and groupsGyms and aerobic clubsReligious placesParents Teachers AssociationsAirport lounges, train stations, bus terminalsInside the aircraft, train or busShopping malls and marketsPublic meeting placesHair salons and SpasParties and social get-togethersSocial mediaEverywhere  113   114 115 117 118 118 118 119 119 120 121 121 122 122 122 123 123 124 124 125 125
Chapter 7: The Green and Red Zones of Business and Social Networking   The Dos of Networking   Network with the end in mindBelieve in business and social networkingBelieve that you need networking platforms to add value to the societyBe open to allGet it Right the First TimeBe a Subject Matter Expert in somethingBring and add valueListenUnambiguous communicationsKeep your promiseBe ethicalTake it to the next levelCarry your referees alongFocus on areas of congruenceLook for role modelsPay compliments’Be real   The Don’ts of Networking Don’t assume, believe or think that networking is a magic Don’t confuse networking with sellingDon’t be or appear desperate Don’t be selfishDon’t be too quick to ask Don’t be a complainerDon’t pretend or present yourself to be what you are not Don’t take up roles or responsibilities you neither have the competence nor are prepared for Don’t brag Don’t talk too muchDon’t force yourself on people Don’t label people Don’t interrupt Don’t discriminate on the basis of religion, tribe, nationality, gender or other preferences Don’t argue over things you can’t change Don’t be everywhere and attempt to do everything at the same timeDon’t look for your honey where your money is Don’t get frustrated because of temporary setbacks Don’t hang out with the wrong people  127   128 128 129
130 130 130 131 132 132 132 132 133 133 133       134 134 134 134 134 134   135 135 135 135 136 136 136 136 136 137 137 137 137 137 138 138 138 138 139 139 139 139 139
Chapter 8: Networking Etiquette for Different Situations Networking at social eventsNetworking at Business eventsNetworking at conferencesNetworking at charity eventsNetworking at a lunch invitationNetworking at corporate meetingsBeing a guest or playing host at eventsGeneral networking etiquette tipsCommon courtesies141   144 145 146 147 148 148 149 150 152  
Part Two: How to Network   Chapter 9: How to Initiate a Conversation How to initiate a conversation in different environments and situationsHow to introduce yourself by nameHandshakes in networkingHow to respond to the question: what do you do?How to introduce yourself to a known personality155             157 158 161 162 163 166
Chapter 10: How to Have and Sustain a Good Conversation Twenty tips on having and sustaining a good conversation How to join other people’s conversation How to end a conversation167   168 173 174
Chapter 11: The Role of Business Cards in Business and Social Networking  177
Chapter 12: How to Join Associations for Networking Success 20 Rules and netiquettes for joining associations for networkingHow to make people trust you182   185 190
Chapter 13: How to Network in Parties, Conferences, Events and One-off Meetings 17 important tips for networking at one-off platforms191     192
Chapter 14: How to Win the Mindshare of Others  197  
Chapter 15: How to Manage Contact Information 10 Sequential steps to managing contact information How to follow-up and keep in touch after meeting someone201   202 204
Chapter 16: Making Requests from People in Your Network Why people don’t make requests in networkingGuidelines to making requests and asking for favoursCritical success factors in getting the request rightHow to handle rejection of your requestsHow to decline request from othersHow to give and receive feedback211   212 215 217 220      222 224
Chapter 17: How to Manage Your Relationships Effectively Your networking success depends on thisTechniques for effective follow-through227   228   239
Chapter 18: How to Use Social Media for Networking The social media platforms for networkingFacebookLinkedIn.comTwitterCases in PointUsing Blogs Rules for networking onlineGuidelines and steps for networking via social media platforms241   244 245 247 250 251 253 257 260

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