Connectors are 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, planes, 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. Connectors are also important in trendsetting….
Alboher notes that there are different types of connectors, and describes these types in depth in her article. In short, some are proactive, some passive and some don’t follow-up at all.
I recently attended a talk with Wendy Kinney, a networking guru, where she spoke about the different levels of connecting. She noted that we must earn referrals by building trust and relationships with people. One of the strongest recommendations is when an ally inserts our name in a conversation and offers to set up a meeting without even being asked for a referral. (“It sounds like you should meet Miriam Salpeter. She is a terrific career coach. I will set the meeting up.”)
This assumes that the connector has a fairly close relationship with each party and that it is possible to leverage the introduction.
Dan Shawbel, whose focus and website are all about personal branding, reminds us that it is important to give before receiving. I agree with this philosophy. Just being aware of how important it is not only to be connected, but also to connect others, is a great step in the right direction. Building trust and relationships with colleagues and associates is key to networking. It’s something every professional should work on regularly – not only when job seeking.