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A-Ha Moments

The Joy of Connecting

Written by: Bill Sherman on Wednesday, 27 August 2008, 4:09 PM

I love to make smart connections across my network. There are so many people who should meet, but don’t even know about each other. Often, they live in different states, across the country, or even across the world. So, there’s a delight when they come together.

In social capital theory, you can be a broker (someone who can create a bridge across a social network). Traditional brokers stand with their hand-out and ask for a referral/introduction fee. Yet, you can also connect people because you know both of them will benefit from the connection. Once you make the connection, you step away and let the relationship grow.

It’s the difference between a transactional (give-ask) introduction and a relational (give-and-ask-nothing) introduction. When I make an introduction, I don’t stand with my hand out. I connect people because I love to watch these connections develop.

About two months ago, I connected two of my life-time friends, Peter Winick and Rajesh Setty. On the surface, you might say there are so many differences between them:

  • One lives in New York and the other lives in San Jose;
  • One is outspoken and quick-speaking, and the other is wise and reflective; and
  • One is a Jew, and the other a Hindu.

Labels and stereotypes can be deceiving. So, don’t let labels prevent great connections.

I knew these two people so very well, Both possess keen, flexible minds and a passion for creating deep relationships. I was certain that if they ever met, they’d soon find many things to talk about. When I made the introduction, I wrote “I don’t know where this connection will lead, but I’m certain that it will be amazing.” When they first met, a 1 hr. coffee meeting turned into a 3 hr. dinner.

The introduction happened two months ago. This week, they both contacted me to tell me that they’re now working together to develop and sell a very cool meeting-planning application–Jiffle. I’m thrilled for both of them.

If you want to make good connections, you need a good “relationship sniffer.” You can’t just connect people and hope for the best. You have to see a win-win for both people you connect–even if you don’t have a specific tactical opportunity in mind.

I encourage you to take some time and think about the people in your network. I’m betting there’s latent (untapped) value within your network which could be brought to life through a smart introduction between two people.

How can you strengthen your network by making smart connections?

One Response to “The Joy of Connecting”

  1. Kare Anderson Says:

    Bill
    That is so like you to be a double opportunity-maker for others, first introducing them, then concretely praising the sweet spot of mutual opportunity they are forging together via jiffle.

    Sitting still for a brief moment here in Denver (yes here) reading your post was so timely and nourishing.

    Imagine more people like you – gently suggesting that two people you respect should meet, sensing they may bring out the best sides (talent and temperament) in each other to become high-performing and happier together….. perhaps working on something to their mutual delight

    August 28th, 2008 10:44 am

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