In a time when the typical contact database lists over a thousand names, and active LinkedIn members have 500+ connections, the conventional thinking seems to be that whoever has the biggest network wins.
But I'm skeptical of all this "power networking" we seem to engage in as part of our business development endeavors. Call me old school, but I say size doesn't matter. I'll trade a vast network for a short list of real allies any day.
Take a moment to reflect on the three longest social interactions you had this week. Did you truly connect with those people? Were your exchanges meaningful in some way, or were you just engaged in fast-food networking?
Assuming you have established a decent network, consider that you're better off adding depth over volume. Don't bloat your LinkedIn network with any more connections. Pick one of the existing ones and call them. Find out how they're doing and what they're working on. Ask them how you can help them and let them know how they can return the favor.
I don't think I'm unusual in that I'll always favor my friends whenever an appropriate opportunity crosses my desk. By that token, you'll find that converting even one business contact into a business friend will benefit you far more than adding a dozen more vCards to your database.
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