Who Is in Your Inner Circle?
Who is most important to you in your professional network? Who can help you ahead in your business goals and other aspirations? Can you think of a few people? They’ve probably already helped you. These people you are thinking of right now may very well be in your Top 50.
Here are three resources to help you get more targeted with your networking:
- Use the memory jogger My World Exercise™ worksheet to identify the people in your active network.
- From the above master list, identify the most important 50 people in your network. Use this worksheet_My Top 50 Contacts
- Download and listen to this FREE audio chapter of the book Networking Ahead for Business. Chapter 3 introduces the concept of the Top 50 targeted networking strategy: Chapter3_What Road to Take_Targeted Networking
What do all these people have in common? You. You are the connecting thread, the link to all these people. They are in your life and in your sphere of influence. Seen from a networking point of view, the common center point is you. Yes, you are the center of the universe!
Surrounding you and your center point is a small group of people who matter most to you. They love you and care for you and would do anything for you. Who could you share your biggest dreams, fears, concerns and triumphs with? Who would give you candid, critical feedback, even when you didn’t ask for it? Who comes to mind when you read this description? Perhaps members of your family or your best friends? Write their names down.
Now think a little more broadly about the people closest to you in your career/work life. With whom do you have a good relationship? Who would call you back promptly if you left a voice mail? Who would go out of the way to help you out if you asked? Whom do you respect, admire and care about? Write their names down.
Your Top 50 Contacts
What you have begun to build is the list of your Top 50 contacts – the 50 most important people to you in your network. I support the idea that our personal and professional networks cross over. In fact, my mother, father, husband, uncle and sisters-in-law have helped me to achieve my professional goals many times over. Why would I exclude them? They care the most for me of anyone I know.
In making my list of my Top 50 networking contacts, I have five basic criteria that I like to meet. You may have more qualifying factors, but here are some simple guidelines you might consider:
- You have a good relationship with this person.
- You care about this individual as a person.
- This individual cares about you as a person.
- You can help this person achieve his or her goals.
- This person can help you achieve your goals.
Now, with these criteria in mind, who comes to mind as members of your Top 50 networking contacts? Note: you can write them down in any order. Hierarchy is not important.
So what do you do with your Top 50 contact list when you create it? You make these relationships a priority by putting more time and attention into them. I recommend you practice a higher frequency of touch with these important people. Check out this strategy:
This strategy was shared with me by Angelo Rossetti, an avid networking and tennis professional. On August 9-10, 2008, Angelo and his identical twin brother, Ettore, broke the world record for the longest tennis rally, successfully completing 25,944 consecutive strokes during a period of 14 hours and 31 minutes. (Now that’s bladder control!)
Angelo taught me a great deal about effective networking when I first launched my own company in 2005. One of the ideas that stuck with me was the idea of knowing who my Top 50 contacts are and practicing the 50-5-10-2 strategy.
Here’s how it works:
- 50: Identify your Top 50 contacts.
- 5: Reach out and touch base with them once every five weeks or so.
- 10: That means you will be reaching out to 10 people per week.
- 2: That equals two people per day (Monday to Friday; you can take the weekend off!).
Can you do that? Touch base with two people each day? And not just any two people – two people who are among the most important to you in your professional network. If you commute, consider reaching out to one person during your morning commute and one person on your afternoon commute. This assumes you can speak on the phone safely while you drive.
Find out what communication channels your Top 50 folks prefer. Are they telephone people? E-mail people? Texting people? Do they like to sit down with you for coffee or lunch? Are they golfing people? Quality of communication counts when you are networking with your Top 50 folks. Make sure they like the way you are staying in touch with them.
Ready for the next step?
Now, what can you do to expand your network and your sphere of influence? Click here to learn more…