Connectors – the most important people you can meet when you’re networking

I’m a big fan of networking as a tactic to build a business.  I’m such a big fan, that I’ve put thousands of hours into building up the network of businesses in Brighton through my work as President of Brighton and Hove Chamber of Commerce, which now has hundreds of businesses as members, and about a dozen events every month.

I use networking to build my own business and to help my business advice clients to build theirs.  I love putting people in touch with others who can help them.

Sometimes, I might suggest that one business buys something from another, or I might see where people are working in a similar area and they should get together.

I did this recently with Susi Doherty from Vervate, and Miranda Birch, who in different ways are both helping businesses to tell their stories.

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They knew each other already, but only got together when I suggested a new service they could provide jointly.  Watch this space for what they cook up.

Apparently, I’m a connector.  Connectors are people who know lots of other people and take delight in putting them together.  We are the hub of many networks, know people from different circles, and can cross fertilise.

I have lots of business friends, but also know people involved in politics and the voluntary sector.  And my partner is much more gregarious than me, so I know dozens of people through her.

I can tap into a different social set up here, as she knows lots of people from Brighton’s alternative music scene, hundreds of tradespeople (she’s a cabinet maker) and most of the furniture makers in Sussex.

Obviously, I’m not the only connector in the world, and there are lots of people out there who have a much bigger address book.  I’m hampered by a terrible memory for faces, which I have to make up for by cataloguing my contacts electronically.

Find your connectors

Next time you’re at a business networking event, look out for the people who know everyone. You want to meet the connectors.

You can spot them either because everyone is saying “Hello Julia” when they come in the room, or they’re smiling at the new people.

Maybe they’ll circulate and strike up conversations, but don’t assume that they’re necessarily extrovert – a lot of people with great address books are pretty introverted and prefer one on one conversations.

You want to meet that person.  Maybe they can introduce you to someone useful or interesting, or maybe they can dig out the supplier you’ve been looking for.

The connectors can do what it says on their tin, they can connect you to the person you need to meet. And you might not know yet that this is the connection you need, but do go along with their recommendations.

You never know where your adventures with a connector might lead.

Meeting up with connectors

If you’re going to be at Brighton based business networking event, do get in touch and see if I’m going as well.  I might be able to introduce you to some good connections.

Help with your networking strategy and meeting more connectors

No matter where you are in the country, I can help with planning and improve your networking activity to boost your business.

If you’d like some help with this, do get in touch for a chat.  And if you’d like to connect on Twitter, this is where I keep in touch with lots of the people in my address book.

More about networking

How to keep the conversation flowing at a networking event

The Joy of Business system for business networking

What to expect when you go networking

In-depth, targeted networking for your business

How to get the most out of a networking cake date

What are your networking plans for Xmas

What not to do at networking events

Photo of the 460 Connector Bridge on the Kentucky/ Virginia border by Anthony and Vervate