Tips to Make the Butterfly Effect of Networking Work

Years ago, I was in the Caribbean, relaxing on Necker Island where I was meeting with 20 business leaders including Sir Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Atlantic Airways and owner of the Island.

My journey to that island is a dramatic example of “The Butterfly Effect of Networking,” a theory that a small action in one place may have a ripple effect that creates a dramatic action in another place. It is like a pebble in a pond creating ripples on the surface. For networking, it is about how a seemingly minor connection or conversation with one person may, after many ripples across the network over time, end in a dramatic connection later in the process.

This is my story…

It started several years before that Caribbean trip when I received a phone call from a woman I did not know; her name was Kim. Kim asked if I would be willing to help with the creation of an online networking and social capital community. It took some work to put this together, but at the time I had no idea what type of ripple effect this request would have on my life. I agreed to do it because it fit the values and direction that I wanted to take my company in. And with that, the ripple began.

This relationship turned into a strategic alliance, which turned into a speaking engagement, which allowed me to meet Jack Canfield (co-author of Chicken Soup for the Soul), which led to an invitation from Jack to participate in an international organization called the Transformational Leadership Council (TLC), which led to meeting a woman by the name of Nancy who owned an ethics training company. Getting to know Nancy led to an invitation for me to spend five days on the breathtakingly beautiful Necker Island where I met financial wizards of business, movie producers, and successful business leaders such as Sir Richard Branson.

Since that first visit, I have had the opportunity to go back to Necker Island several times, and it has occurred to me that an important part of the reason I was able to make such effective and rewarding networking connections was the way that I thought about, and therefore went about networking.
Here’s what I mean by that . . .

While it’s important to know the right things to do while networking, it’s equally important to start thinking the right way to make your networking efforts as successful and dynamic as they can be. This involves altering your mindset. Here is an in-depth look at some elements you will want to include in your mindset to ensure networking success.

Tips for a Successful Mindset

  1. The law of reciprocity or Givers Gain® approach.

Don’t approach networking with thoughts of ‘I did this for you, now what are you going to do for me?’ Instead, think about the old adage ‘Give and you shall receive.’ The law of reciprocity takes the focus off of what you stand to gain from the networking relationship, and in doing so, creates bonds based on trust and friendship. Put it to the test. You’ll be amazed by the outcome.

  1. Diversity in networking.

To have a powerful network, branch out. Build a diverse network of professional contacts with people from different ages, backgrounds, and occupations. People who don’t look like you, sound like you, or have the same interests and hobbies as you are likely to be connected to others that you may want to meet. Look for groups that don’t target people just like you. In this way, you’ll broaden the net you seek to cast for referral opportunities.

  1. Maintain a Farming mentality.

It’s a long, drawn-out process to go from seeding a field to harvesting the crops, and there’s no quick return. However, when you invest your time to cultivate new relationships and take care in building them, your networking will yield extraordinary results. Approach business networking with a mindset that focuses on the process of cultivating referrals. A farming mentality instead of “hunting” for referrals will position you for success.

The ripples that take place in the networking process may not be clear when the pebble drops into the water and the ripple begins. What is certain is that there is a ripple. If you follow that ripple and make the most of the contacts that you meet during each stage of that journey, it can lead you to make connections and create relationships that may very well surprise you when you look back to where the journey first started.

Do you have a story about the butterfly effect of networking? I’d love to see it in the comments below.




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