What are often very clearly-defined lines which distinguish personal and professional relationships are often crossed, well, simply because it’s human nature to want to be social. Ordinarily these lines are crossed in a harmless way that can actually be quite positive in fact, but often people just don’t have the full measure of the power contained in their networks, let alone demonstrating the ability to leverage that power contained in their networks.
So when I refer to personal networks, by extension I also mean professional networks, because if you come to think of it, any contact you’ve made in a professional setting is still an individual with whom you interact socially, on a personal level. If you speak with the CEO of a specific company for instance, you can very well refer to that as a professional connection, however, in your communication or interaction with that company you’re now connected with, the actual interaction and communication happens via an individual. All the better if that individual happens to be the CEO, who obviously holds a lot of power within the organisation.
Now, I’m not suggesting that you become a leech and start ringing everybody up who is part of your personal network to solicit freebies from them. Instead, finding value in your personal networks and leveraging that value would take the form of exchanging value with them in the most natural setting possible. While you’d try to be tactful about it, if it gets to a stage where tact gets in the way of the kind of progress you’d want to be making with this resolution to uncover and leverage the value of your personal networks, you might have to formalise proceedings.
How is this done?
One way is to send out an open invitation to every member in your network, encouraging them to take part in a formal occasion during which there will be a concerted effort to exchange the value each member brings to the table. It doesn’t have to be too formal – you could make it something like a networking breakfast where both personal and professional matters are discussed, but the ultimate aim of this exercise is to facilitate a round-table type platform where each member contributes some value and extracts that value which they can use in their own lives.
Professional advice often makes for the ultimate in value, proving that you don’t really need to give something tangible in exchange for money or for something else that is tangible. A legal professional who is part of the network could save many of the other members thousands in legal fees by simply sharing information such as the knowledge of a service provided by a great Wilmingtion NC Divorce Attorney, with specific reasons as to why that would be the best option.
A stock broker who is part of the network could contribute to the growing information pool by sharing some hot stock picking tips or making everyone wise to an online trading platform that charges the least commission…