The Advantage Of Making Introductions
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28 August 2008
Being somebody who makes ‘introductions’ is a business and social advantage
Regardless of whether the economic climate is good or bad, the biggest advantage anybody can give themselves – whether they are in business, employed or studying – is to develop the habit of becoming a ‘connector’.
BNI New Zealand director, Graham Southwell, says we usually admire people who are described as connected, but it’s the people who actively strive to ‘bring people together’ – the connectors – who deserve the highest praise, and who earn the most reward.
Graham – who as the National Director of BNI New Zealand, which has more than 2,000 SME members in 96 chapters throughout the country – says he sees the value of bringing people together daily.
“It’s no good ‘being connected’ unless you’re using those connections for the benefit of others by making introductions. We know from experience that those people who are actively and consciously making introductions benefit from goodwill, a sense of satisfaction and increased opportunities for themselves – it’s simply the principle of ‘givers gain’ at work,” he says.
Wikipedia describes connectors as: “people in a community who know large numbers of people and who are in the habit of making introductions. A connector is essentially the social equivalent of a computer network hub. Connectors usually know people across an array of social, cultural, professional, and economic circles, and make a habit of introducing people who work or live in different circles.
“Although connectors are rare – only one in several thousand people might be thought of as a true connector – they are, like mavens and salesmen, very important in the healthy function of civil society and business.”
Graham says, however, that connectors are not born. They are simply people who have made a conscious decision to connect people and make introductions.
“It is not like matchmaking or selling, it’s far simpler. If you think two people might benefit from meeting with each other, even if the opportunities aren’t immediately obvious, introduce them and invite them to meet for a coffee. That’s all you have to do.”
The first step in becoming a connector is to set a goal of making one introduction a day. The second is to let people know that you are connected; drop it casually into a conversation that if people need to find reliable, trusted or more cost effective services or products, you’re the person to speak to.
“One accountant I know has written on the back of his business card: ‘If you need a good plumber, call me…’ It’s a conversation prompt. People can’t resist asking him what the connection between a plumber and an accountant is. This creates an opportunity for him to talk about the fact that he is ‘connected’ and willing to make introductions.”