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How to Make Introductions: Five Principles, by Michael Simmons in Forbes

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Michael Simmons wrote a great article in Forbes this week:

I quote my favorite parts below but the whole article is worth reading.

Principle 1: Make Introductions Everyday (But No More Than Three)

Since Adam joined LinkedIn in December 2003, he has consistently made three introductions per day. What this means is that he has made a mind-boggling 10,000 introductions in nearly a decade.

In Adam’s experience, "If you already have a network, an introduction is the most powerful daily action you can take to build it. In just a few minutes, you can have a dramatic impact on the lives of two people and generate a large amount of goodwill for yourself and the overall community you’re building."

Principle 2: Build Deep Relationships So You Can Make Better Introductions

At its heart, an introduction does two things:

  • Endorses the two people you’re introducing.

  • Provides information on why the two people should connect.

These two things cannot be effectively done without:

  • A Strong Reputation. You need to have a reputation where the two people trust your recommendations. If they don’t, they’ll likely not take the introduction seriously and even ignore it.

  • An Understanding of Each Person. An introduction leverages knowledge you have about two people (who they are as individuals and how they can help each other). Being someone who is a good listener and asks good questions is critical to getting the necessary information to do the introduction.

Principle 3: Focus On Individuals With Shared Values Not Just Huge Accomplishments

To separate the noise from the clutter, Adam goes back to a basic principle, “You are the sum of the people you’re surrounded by.” So, he has consciously identified the values that are important to him and supports people who share those values.

You become like the people you spend time with.

Principle 4: Focus on Rekindling Valuable Dormant Relationships

With the focus on weak vs. strong ties, many people miss the power of dormant relationships. Dormant relationships are strong relationships that you’ve lost touch with.

Professor Adam Grant, a leading researcher on this topic and author of theNew York Times bestselling Give & Take, describes the hidden power of dormant ties to unlock your network:

Just like weak ties, dormant ties offer novel information: in the years since you last communicated, they’ve connected with new people and gathered new knowledge. But unlike weak ties, dormant ties also bring the benefits of strong ties. The history and shared experience makes it faster and more comfortable to reconnect, and you can count on them to care more about you than your acquaintances do.

Principle 5: Get Pushed Updates On Your Targeted Relationships via Social Media

“Before these tools existed, you would have to ask people, ‘What’s new?’ Now, you don’t have to do small talk to see where they are. The social networks push it to you.”

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