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Part 3 - Five Ideal Networking Tips

By Mary Kurek
Posted Saturday, October 23, 2004

Five more tips on how to create the ideal network

This is the third article in a series of tips to help you put the foundation in place that can best support you and your dreams and goals. It’s all about the quality of people that you know and how you interact with them. Let’s go…


What is a coalition? It’s a group of people who are “cause” driven. Coalitions are assembled to accomplish great things. You’ll find them running political campaigns, lobbying for new laws, fighting against “wrongs” or raising funds to build institutions. If coalitions can do all of this, why don’t you have one? You need a forceful mission – one in which you truly believe. If you have a talent you are wishing to share, then consider what greater good lies in the sharing of the talent? A coalition needs a sense of doing something wonderful for the masses. If you are an inspiring writer with a work to publish or a filmmaker with an important story to tell or a speaker with timely information, that’s all it takes. Now, once you’ve thought it through, do this: · Take a sheet of paper and put your name at the bottom · Draw a short line straight up (vertically) from your name and another long horizontal line across that – like a T. · The long horizontal line becomes your foundation. From there your coalition will grow like branches on a tree. You are the root. · You will add leaves to your branches that are names of people in your network who are glued to your cause. They have already been helpful in some way or another. Now you will work this network base, recruiting more connections. · Each “leaf” can sprout another as your current network leads you to someone else who is helpful. Your aim is to strengthen the quality and level of contacts you get with each new branch. The value of information and doors this will open will astound you. But this does take knowing where you are headed and the type of people it will take to get you there. This “tree” becomes your coalition. They are there to serve you primarily in this one purpose, which you have designed. If well mapped, it will be a connect-a-dot format that will show you how you are getting to where you want to be. I’ve had one client with whom I’ve helped with this who was able to add a published author to his “coalition” who provided him with two names of people that would be useful to him in his efforts to get his own book published.


Anytime you open yourself to learning something new you allow yourself to grow. In educating yourself, you create mental and physical space to accept new intelligence, understanding and self-awareness. This opening up is a fabulous state in which to thrive. You will be pulled through shifts, emotions and a clarity that is not routinely experienced. It is not uncommon during the learning process to attract new people to you. Perhaps these will be teachers, students or just others who are as interested as you are in this “new thing.” Or…could be that you just exude an interesting aura in this state. Become aware and embrace all that comes to you, paying special attention to how your network begins to grow. Now, go find something new to learn.


Once upon a time (perhaps many years ago), you spoke to someone about a plan, a goal or a dream. Your excitement, creativity and imagination with this subject was boundless and whether or not this person registered it at the time, you made an impact. You may have even left the person totally unsatisfied that you permeated his/her surface. But, there is a sort of gestation period with really great ideas and plans. Timing is relevant to all things. Weeks, months and even years can pass and you possibly have forgotten the episode…then magic happens. Perhaps just the right situation causes the person to recall your conversation and bring back to the surface that amazing energy you shared however long ago. Now, it becomes critical for that person to connect with you. You planted a seed and now it begins to grow. This is a fairly common circumstance…one that I’m sure at some level has played out in your life, whether it was about a project or a job or maybe a relationship. You may say “great – but what does this have to do with my ideal network?” Often, because of time-lapse and geography, and so on, these “seed plantings” can get lost. You plant and then you leave, but if you want it to grow, you’ve got to feed and nurture it. People with whom you’ve shared these great ideas need occasional contact from you. Make it easier for people to know where you are and what you are doing and how you are progressing with the great idea. You may be surprised at the difference it makes. Seven years ago I sought out someone to talk to about a business idea. He was several states away and in an industry fairly foreign to me, but perfectly positioned to help me develop the idea. Though the gentleman and I connected well; his plate was full and nothing ever evolved from the conversation. Through the years, however, I kept him in the loop, sending him newspaper clippings and an occasional note whenever I noticed his career changes. Then, out of the blue, he calls wanting to discuss exactly what we had talked about so many years earlier. Something had occurred that had caused his perfect recall. So glad I stayed in contact. I could have easily let go of that first conversation and disappeared, but through the years I had developed a “relationship” that gave him comfort in connecting. He also knew exactly how to reach me. The point here is – water the seeds you plant and watch them grow into your ideal network.


The long lost art of the hand-written letter should be revived. In this automated, high-tech world, most of our mail comes to us bulk or computer-generated in some manner. Rarely do I get a nice envelop with a beautiful hand-written address on it unless it is a personal invitation or Christmas card. Because it is unusual to receive such personal attention anymore, it brings much enjoyment when it does occur. That’s why I keep nice note cards on my desk and send hand-written thank you notes out or use them when I just want to drop a line. I can assure you, these notes get plucked out of the mail first and may even get saved a day or two longer. One year a friend of mine made her own “old fashioned” Valentine’s Day cards and sent them out to friends. What a treasure. I saved mine for years, using it as a bookmark. There is a man here at the beach where I live that maintains a local database of friends and business associates to whom he emails out weekly photos of the area. When an unusual snowfall happened recently, we all had gorgeous pictures sent by email to us so that we could forward to our family and friends. My favorites are the fabulous sunsets or local events photos he sends out weekly. These are folks with imagination as much as talent. They don’t adhere to the standard when it comes to communicating with people. Your ideal network deserves your creativity and personal touch when it comes to communication. Your ability to spark the same in them will cause them to remember you well.


Here’s a subject that is worthy of more than just a paragraph, but where it concerns the ideal network, I can be very specific. First of all, bartering is simply swapping goods for goods or services for services (and any combination of that). I’ve bartered with a carpenter to build me an entertainment center for a freezer we didn’t use. I’ve swapped my personal coaching skills with weight training from a celebrity fitness trainer in Los Angeles. Yes…he effectively trained me via email and over the phone. I’ve known people to barter for their rent (house-sitting or handy-manning) and others who barter their marketing services for massages and computer help. There are bartering websites that will match you if you want to take it to that level, but the key thing that I believe is important is to be very clear who you are bartering with and be absolutely clear how the barter is to take place. There must be a total understanding between both parties of the end-result or expectation. Putting it in writing is a great idea. You should consider the barter as a real exchange. Just because cash is not involved does not make it less important. Start thinking about what you want and need in your life and what talent or skill you might possess with which to barter. Then, consider the qualities you’d look for in a barter partner. Use your current network to help you find that perfect match. Done well, bartering can be a very interesting and wonderful way to build your ideal network.

These are just five more tips for creating that ideal network. Good luck and look for more articles in this series.

About the Author
Mary is a Networking Coach whose clients include film and television artists, athletes, musicians and other talented professionals. With Mary's help, clients collect the right people-resources to gain greater visibility and attract opportunities. For more info visit: (


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