The history of human connection and networking.

Prehistoric Era:

Ancient Civilizations:

Medieval and Renaissance Periods:

Industrial Revolution and Modernization:

Information Age and Digital Era:

As technology continues to evolve, human networking has become more diverse and accessible than ever before. The history of human networking reflects our innate need for connection, cooperation, and the exchange of ideas, which has played a pivotal role in shaping societies and advancing human progress.


Have you ever used any form of the following phrases:
“I’m so busy right now.”
“I’m too busy trying to…..”
“I feel like I’m so busy that I can’t get everything I want to do done.”
“I can’t do that right now, I’m too busy trying to make a living.”

We're All Busy

If you’re anything like me, you have. Don’t worry, it’s part of our human nature to be busy doing stuff. The problem is, being busy will not help you be successful, especially when it comes to building relationship through business networking. Most people understand the importance of networking in order to grow a sustainable, long-term business. Numerous studies have shown that building business relationships is critical to success. That’s why the first principle in networking is simple - SHOW UP! I realize this sounds pretty easy, but showing up has some competition, it’s called “I’m too busy.”
Now before you start rolling your eyes and thinking to yourself, “well if I’m busy than I must be doing something right.” WRONG! Most people who are busy are not being productive or efficient. The truth is, anyone can be busy, but you have to work at being productive and efficient. The easy way to tell if you are being busy or not is too look at your results. Of course this means you have to know what you’re trying to accomplish.

The Simple Truth of Networking

Here’s a simple truth when it comes to growing your business and becoming more successful in life…
You have to know what you trying to accomplish, you have to have goals! If you’re not setting desirable and measurable goals for your business (and self), you are on the fast track to failure. Here’s how I measure my success in the form of outcomes.
I use the formula: ACCOMPLISH [ X ] by DOING [ Y ] as MEASURED BY [ Z ].
I then write out my goals in the following format:
To measure my progress of this goal I will….[LIST THE SPECIFIC WAYS I MEASURE MY PROGRESS]
Doing this will help you stay focused and productive, and once you have this down, you can easily accomplish the first principle in networking!

The First Principle of Networking

Most people understand the importance of networking when it comes to building a sustainable business. Networking success looks different for everyone. What kind of networker are you? Are you someone who enjoys meeting new people and striking up conversations with strangers (an extrovert), or are you someone who doesn’t feel as comfortable meeting new people and initiating a conversation (an introvert)? Being an extrovert or introvert doesn’t make you any better or worse than the other. It only means you network differently and will have different strengths and weaknesses. Regardless of how you classify yourself, showing up will help you be a better networker! Showing up requires three things:
  1. Be approachable
  2. Ask good questions and listen
  3. Show up to serve

Be Approachable

Showing up means somebody is going to talk to you, ask you your name and what you do. This will happen 100% of the time if you aren’t making people feel uncomfortable or unapproachable. What do I mean by this? Focus on what your body language is saying. Keep your head up, stand tall, make eye contact, and smile. If you do that, you are approachable and people will come and talk to you, or you can more easily approach others to talk to them (depending on your personality type).

Ask Good Questions and Listen

Before attending an event, you need to come prepared to ask good questions and be prepared to shut up and listen to their responses. As you begin asking more questions (and listening), it’s important to understand the natural progression of information that is shared. Most people usually start out sharing professional information (what they do for a living, how long they’ve been doing it, what services or products they provide, etc.). The next level is that of safe personal information (hobbies, where they’re from, where they’ve traveled, etc.). The final phase would be vulnerable information shared (personal struggles, hopes and dreams, health issues, etc.). It is at the vulnerable level that long-lasting connections are made. Getting to the vulnerable level often takes time and multiple engagements.
Don’t be selective with who you talk to either. Reserve your judgments about whether or not someone would be a good prospect or customer. You have no idea what they know, what they need, or more importantly, who they know.

Show Up to Serve!

Networking becomes easier when you’re not focused on your own needs and wants. There’s no pressure to “try to make a sale” when you’re looking for opportunities to serve others outside of your products or services. There are countless ways to serve others if you just listen to what they are saying. Often, it’s a simple thing like a referral or a good business book you’ve recently read. Small acts of service will always have much larger returns.
Everyone can be a better networker. Networking is not about being perfect. Networking is about being consistent and persistent in your efforts. Small changes, like showing up and being prepared to learn and serve others, will have huge payoffs in your life. Networking is a journey, not an event!


You have all heard the phrase “ you can’t judge a book by it’s cover” but the truth is that is exactly what we do. Human nature causes us to make quick judgements of others as a safety mechanism to keep us away from potentially dangerous persons or situations. This type of judgement can be good in certain situations, however when it comes to networking judging others can be detrimental.

When we network we have to overcome our tendency to only look at other people as potential clients or customers. This kind of approach not only limits our ability to build genuine relationships, it can also come across as self-centered and egotistical. If, however, we approach networking with a sincere desire to help those we meet instead of the “what’s in it for me” approach, things begin to change dramatically.

Everyone you meet has a challenge or situation that they are trying to resolve. When they express what they need, and you do your best to try to help them, the person feels valued and relationships begin to form. Once you establish that relationship of trust with an individual they will think about you if someone they know is in need of your particular product or services. Ultimately Networking isn’t only about getting to know the person in front of you, it’s getting to know them well enough that they will send their friends, family, and acquaintances to you because of your relationship with them.

There are two statements that we frequently use to describe ourselves; the first is “I am” and the other is “that’s just who I am”. When we use the phrase “I am” we can fill in the rest of the sentence with words that inspire us and help us to become what we want to be. When we say things like ” that’s just who I am” we convince ourselves that we are incapable of change and we base our actions on an opinion of ourselves that may or may not be true.

The problem with using statements like “ that’s just who I am” is that it places a barrier between where we are now and where we want to be. In order for us to truly become great at networking we may have to overcome some of  our insecurities and weaknesses and go forward with boldness instead.

Einstein understood the power of the mind and the fact is that if you tell yourself something enough times, eventually you will believe it. With that knowledge it’s important for us to go into  networking with a positive outlook and perception of ourselves and our profession. If we’re not where we want to be yet that’s okay. The only people who really fail are those who fail to try so keep focussed on your vision and tell yourself that you are who you aspire to be. As you do so you will overcome the things that hold you back and eventually become the person you always knew you could be.

In order for us to establish relationships of trust with our peers we really have to give them something that they need or value. In some rare cases the product or service you provide may actually be “the thing” someone needs however this will likely be an exception, not the rule. In most cases people just need a little bit of your time, a recommendation, advice, a referral, or direction. These are all things that each of us can provide however we have to figure out what the need is first.

The best way to figure out what someone needs is by asking them open ended questions. When you ask a question that requires more than just a “yes” or “no” answer you create a dialogue that allows the other person to express more about who they are both professionally as well as individually. As you listen pay attention to things that they say that you might be able to help them with and maybe write it down so you can discuss the item further.

In addition to giving it is equally important that we also receive help from others as well. We really need balance in networking in order to be most effective in relationship development and if we focus too much on ourselves, or on the “take” as it were, we can alienate others instead of bringing them closer.

If you will apply the “give and take “ approach to networking you will not only create strong relationships, you will also generate more opportunities in your professional life as well. More often than not people will choose to work with someone they know and trust, even if the service or product is slightly more than the competition, simply because there is a connection there. The more connections you make, the greater the chance for success so get out there and give a little. You never know how much you will get back in return.

One of the most important aspects to business and personal fitness is establishing a baseline or a measurement for which future outcomes can be measured. Once there is an understanding of where you are you can then measure future outcomes against it.

Relationships, in much the same way, need to have a baseline in order for us to know where we need to focus our efforts. We need to understand the level of our relationships with others so we know where we need to focus our efforts in order to grow and develop those relationships into something more personal. In order to do this Networkr has established five levels of relationship that you can use to accomplish this very thing. Let’s talk about each level in detail.

Level 0 - Level zero are your peers. These are individuals you have seen at an event but have never really had a chance to meet. You may know their name or recognize their face but you really don’t know much else.

Level 1 - Level one is a person you have met. You may have had a chance to sit at a table with them and you know their name, what they do and a little bit about them as a person. You still don’t know much about their personal life but have, at the very least, been introduced to one another in some way.

Level 2 - Level two are people you know and perhaps the most important level of relationship in Networking.  Level two people are individuals with whom you have a personal relationship with. They are people you know things about like their likes and dislikes, hobbies, work, family, etc. There is a personal connection there as opposed to a superficial one that may exist in the level one sphere.

Level 3 - Level three are people that you know and trust. At this point in the relationship there aren’t a lot of barriers in the way. These are individuals with whom you have a personal connection with. You trust them and know the kind of work that they do. There is a level of vulnerability here which may not exist in a level two relationship. Level three people are your friends and people you trust and confide in at a personal level.

Level 4 - The raving fan. Level four people are the best of the best in your circle of influence. These are your friends, those you know and trust completely, and who share those sentiments for you as well.

As you identify the level of relationship you have with each person you meet you can maximize your networking efforts by establishing stronger relationships with those who you don’t know very well and nurture the relationships with those individuals that you you do know. As you do so you will see more referrals and opportunities to grow your business.

One of the greatest challenges in business today, especially for entrepreneurs and business owners, is the “multiple hat dilemma”. More often than not we find ourselves tasked with a lot of different responsibilities in our business or organization, and this can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming. We are generally great at a few things, pretty good at others, and then completely out of our element and inexperienced with the rest. Now unless you are a superstar who knows everything already ( and congratulations to you if you think you do)  here are a couple of reasons why you need networking.

When you go to a networking event you have the opportunity to not only tap into the experience and knowledge of those in attendance, but also the infinite number of people that those individuals have in their personal networks as well. The fact is that we simply don’t know what we don’t know so if we approach networking with intent to learn, we open ourselves up to really grow both individually and professionally.

You have heard the phrase “ knowledge is power” but this isn’t entirely true. What we need is “correct knowledge” because we can do things that we think we know, but unless we apply correct principles to whatever we’re doing we simply won’t get the results we are looking for. So how do we gain “correct” knowledge? You can either learn from your own experience by making a lot of mistakes, and potentially wasting a lot of time and resources in the process, or you can learn from other people who have more experience or knowledge than you. When it comes down to it there really is no comparison as to which option is best and why building a network of people who can help you will get you to your goals much faster than trying to do it on your own.

When you incorporate networking into your life you not only have an opportunity to give back by sharing your own experiences and expertise with others, you open yourself up to unlimited opportunities to learn and grow yourself. Correct knowledge is power so take time, get out there, and connect. It could be the best investment of time you ever make.

Just because you put together a “networking event” and people show up, who appear to be networking, doesn’t mean you put on a successful event. More than likely you are just seeing the self-promoters doing lots of talk and very little listening.

Successful business networking events are consciously designed to create opportunities for people to build relationships!

Business networking has three primary benefits:

  1. Meeting new people and building sustainable, long-term relationships.
  2. Exchanging ideas and learning from other professionals.
  3. Building relationships that result in sales and referrals.

Here’s how to create the perfect business networking event that includes these three benefits:


This sounds simple, but it is extremely important. If the purpose is to help people connect and then your activities don’t promote this, you don’t have a networking event.

Here’s a BAD EXAMPLE of a common networking event:

If the purpose was to connect with others at this event, it failed because it was left to chance.

If the purpose was to create some intellectual benefit, it failed because it was not promoted that way.

If the purpose was to sell a product or service, it failed because no relationships where established.


Create a simple outline of the event with activities that align with your purpose and benefits.


You can’t fake this. Be glad to see people and greet them by first name if you know it. Don’t be overbearing or act like a First Grader who just ate 15 candy bars! Make eye contact, smile, shake their hand, express to them that you are glad to see them (or meet them), ask them a good question, or ask them about something that they have shared with you.


The First and Last Name is mandatory, but the business name is optional. You can either have one that you’ve printed off (more professionally) or you can have one that you write their name on. It’s best to have a good marker and someone with good hand writing do this. If you do a lanyard, make sure their name is printed on both sides, as lanyards have a tendency to get flipped over!

* Having a name tag, allows people to connect more easily because it takes out the psychological barrier caused from not remembering someone’s name.

IMPORTANT: Make sure the name tag is placed in an area that is visible to others. Watch for jackets, coats, sweaters, hair, etc., that can get in the way. Remind people to keep name tag visible.


*If you have a system or a tool (like Networkr w/it’s Relationship Beacon Technology) to assign seats based on industry, relationship levels, last time someone sat by someone else, etc., you will create more opportunities (and value) for you attendees.

**Assigning seats can also create a feeling a safety and security for those who don’t feel comfortable meeting new people (because everyone is being assigned a seat and they don’t have to make that choice). EXTREMELY POWERFUL!


This is extremely helpful, and comforting, especially if food is served.


This gives attendees time to get settled in and ready to participate. This is another important psychological principle of feeling like we know what’s happening.


To get everyone’s attention, use some kind of interrupter that gets people to stop what they are doing. Examples include:

*Be consistent in what you use at every event and people will begin to recognize it as the signal to begin.


You will need to explain the purpose and how each of them will benefit from the event. Show them how to use the packet with the agenda and note section. Quickly go over the agenda.


Move into the announcements, news, and do any giveaways. Generally speaking, doing giveaways, raffles, drawings, at the end of the event is not as effective. People don’t like to wait for things, they like to be rewarded as quickly as possible.


Create a simple and short connecting activity at the beginning of your event. Don’t assume people will understand what you want them to do. Be specific in your explanation, give clear guidelines, and show them an example of what you’re wanting them to do.


*Share and explain this to the group

“To start off we are going to do a connecting activity called: Know-U.”

“The purpose of the activity is to get to know the people at your table more personally, rather than what’s on their business card. People like to do business with people they know, like, and trust. So let’s get a little personal…”

“Here’s how it works:

Each person on the table will have 2 minutes to share one of the following:

  1. The best vacation you have ever been on
  2. The worst road trip experience you’ve experienced.
    and then
  3. In 30 seconds, share your business and what value you provide.”

*It’s best to have these on a slide (PowerPoint) and/or printed on paper in front of each attendee.

“I’ve asked someone at each table to keep track of the time on their phone to let you know when your time is up.”

*You can also choose to do this yourself and the attendees know you will be keeping time. It’s best if they can see the time and have some kind of audible noise signaling the end of their time.

EMPHASIZE THE FOLLOWING: “It is important that everyone keeps to the time. When your time is up and if you’re not done, you will need to stop, even if it’s mid-sentence, and let the next person go. I’m sure you will find time later to finish.”

“I encourage you to take some notes to help you remember what you learn about others.”

“I will show you an example of what I mean.”

*Have your phone/timer ready and then share with the group one of your experiences (2 minutes or less) and what your business is and the value you provide (30 seconds).

“Ready, begin!”


Quickly wrap up/summarize the connecting activity and reinforce the benefit of what they just did, which was connecting with people on a more personal level and building stronger trust.


Move into you training or presentation portion of the event. Give clear instructions on the purpose, what they will gain from it, and how to get the most out of it. Also, be clear on the time allotted and how the event will end (interrupter to end or when they are done they can leave).


Regardless of who is training or presenting, make sure they are prepared with a purpose that will benefit the attendees. You will want to share with them ahead of time your expectations for the event (i.e. attendees will understand the purpose, they will understand the benefits, and they will know how to get results from material presented).


Close up the event by again summarizing the benefits from attending. This is a psychological reinforcement technique that helps attendees get more value.

Give attendees a CALL-2-ACTION, something they can do outside of the event that will an extra benefit from attending.

An example of this would be reminding the attendees to schedule one lunch appointment with someone they met today.


As attendees are leaving, make sure you are there (by the exit or close by) to thank them for coming. Shake some hands, give some fist bumps, and ALWAYS BE GENUINE!

At a recent networking event I attended, I was asked to share some networking tips that would help build better business relationships. My response was to help them understand how their personality and behaviors play a role in helping or hurting their ability to build relationships. The following article is a result from that inquiry.

You are also probably familiar with the saying, “People like to do business with people they know, like, and trust." This statement is more than just an over used cliche, it’s the truth. In fact, numerous surveys have shown that nearly 100% of people believe that face-to-face meetings are essential for long-term business relationships.

On the flip side, we are also busier than ever before and going out to “NETWORK” can seem overwhelming and impossible at times, especially if we haven’t had much success in networking!

How to Fix Networking

Okay so you’re now thinking, “Okay Captain Obvious, I know this already, I just want to know if there is a solution to this problem?”

Yes there is!

Now in order to fix this “networking problem” and grow your networking organization, or if you are a networker, grow and build a business through relationships, you have to understand how your personality and behaviors get in the way of building sustainable business relationships. Don't worry, it's not a defect, it's just how we are wired- to keep us safe.
After learning about this problem, you'll be better equipped to apply "The First Principle in Networking."

Behavioral Segregation, a "Natural" Problem

When I have trained on this topic in the past, the extroverts in the room often don't think it applies to them. Well they're wrong, and plus, we’re not all extroverts. Researchers estimate that almost 50% of us are not extroverts! We ALL fall into the trap of “BEHAVIORAL SEGREGATION!"

So what is behavioral segregation? Let me give you an example.

Basic human behavior works like this. You walk into a room of people and depending on if you are an extrovert or an introvert you will most likely do one of two things: 1) If you see someone you already know, you will walk up to them and start talking, or, 2) After scanning the room and not seeing anyone you know or want to talk to, you go find a place to yourself.

Either action you end up choosing is not going to help you meet new people. Basically, your behavior has impeded your ability to meet new people.

It's also important to note that behavioral segregation gets even harder to overcome if you are someone who does meet a lot of people. The more people you know, the harder it becomes to seek out and find those you don't know, or don't know well, because every time you walk into a room full of people you are drawn to those you know. When this starts to happen, meeting new people is left up to chance and/or luck.

Building Your System

Depending on if you run a networking organization or if you are someone who attends networking functions will depend on what kind of system you need to develop.

As a networking group administrator, you need to create a system that helps your attendees meet new people and provides them with tools to help build, grow, and track relationships. The best way to do this is to design your networking event with specific intentions rather than specific results. Let me explain.

An intent is what you're trying to accomplish at your event, while a result is what happens when the event ends. An example of a good intent might be, "I want my attendees to meet new people and build strong connections with those they meet." An example of a result that gets confused with an intent would be, "I want to have the most successful networking group in town."

By focusing on intent, you can start to look at how and what needs to be done to accomplish it. If your intentions are met, there's a good chance you'll get the results you want. Here's an article that will help you get the intentions you're looking for: How to Create the Perfect Networking Event

Other things that need to be considered in a good networking system include:

If you are a networker, you need certain systems as well. Along with the ability to meet new people, you need a system that will help you grow and nurture those newly formed relationships. There are many tools out there that can help you with this (including Networkr), but your system is going to be unique to you.

Here are ten actions you might consider when creating or refining your system:

  1. Sending information to your contacts that would benefit them personally or professionally (not asking for referrals or a sale).
  2. Setting aside time regularly to reach out to contacts to see how they are doing, not just when you need something from them.
  3. Making the people in your network feel valued as friends (this would be followed up with a list of specific ways to do this).
  4. You research the needs of your contacts and work to fill them.
  5. You are aware of the “big events” in your contacts’ lives.
  6. You have a list of contacts and record the last time you communicated with them.
  7. You find people in your network who could benefit from each other and help introduce them to each other.
  8. You follow-up quickly when asked for help by others.
  9. You reach out unexpectedly - not just on holidays or birthdays.
  10. You work to reconnect with people you haven’t seen in a few months.

In conclusion, I want to leave you something I learned from Gary Vaynerchuk. In blog post titled "How to Sell," Gary relays this golden piece of advice:

Real relationships take real time. You’re going to have to spend hours trying to interact, engage, and provide value in order to win... It’s your emotional intelligence and tact and unscalable human effort is what takes you home.

I think that sums it up well. Building relationships takes time and hard work, but the payoff is going to be worth it.

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