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Last evening, I attended an event sponsored by CONFLUENCE! A new social networking organization in Indy. It’s an interesting format that includes an hour of educational content before open networking.

I sat in on a session on relationships & networking. The leaders were our friend Ron (Sukenich) and Hazel Walker who owns the area BNI franchise. It was informative. Most of all for me - it was affirmation of who we are as an organization (our vision, mission & goals, etc.).

As I mused over what to write this a.m., my mind wandered to a comment Hazel made. To paraphrase, it was basically that “Ron is all about relationships & I (Hazel) am about referrals“. No one challenged the remark as it is basically true.

However, my thoughts are that the 2 are not mutually exclusive! And I think that’s one of the powerful pieces in the core concepts that guide AWI & our ConnectWorkingtm format.

Ron has written a book entitled “The Power Is In The Connection“. That’s certainly true! First we must “show up” & make a “connection“. But a connection is not a relationship & it certainly is not a referral. It can be & it might be. . .but most likely that won’t happen until we go from connection to relationship!.

Hazel teaches a 12 week course via the Referral Institute that helps folks identify their target market(s) and build relationships that lead to an ongoing stream of referrals.

One of the core pieces I took away from my time in that class was the following: we go from visibility with others to credibility to profitability. If any of those pieces is missing. . . . we will likely not form a relationship that will lead to much of anything. Certainly not a steady stream of referrals!

But the “power” truly is in the “connection“. Connections occur when we first meet another & find common ‘ground’ upon which to meet again & again & again. Meeting, of course, to build a relationship. Meeting to move from simple visibility to credibility. And credibility occurs when we reach a point of mutual honesty, integrity & trust (operative word “trust“).

Thus a focus on “relationships” or “referrals” really is a “focus on “relationship AND referrals“.

So if we were to map it out on a graph. . . it would look something like this:

1). I show up at an event.
2). I meet you & we begin to share conversation
3). I learn you are a music lover (I am too)
4). You learn that my favorite music is the classics & opera (yours is as well)
5). You ask me “who’s your favorite singer“?
6). I respond with the name of a person you are fond of as well!
7). CONNECTION based on a common interest, as well as a specific common interest that forms an invisible ‘cord’ linking us together!

What else might we have in common, we think to ourselves. So we set a date to meet over coffee to learn more about each other. No mention of our business or profession has been uttered. But relationship has sprung forth!

I’m sure you get the picture & for many of you. . . this may be a rehash of what you already know. We often go about making connections, forming relationships & gaining referrals without analyzing the process. But analysis is important. And one of the ‘keys’ to our SUCCESS.

So, when you “go“. . . go knowing you want to at least make a connection with one other person. Explore the connection as much as time will permit. If there is that ‘twinge’ within when sharing with the other. . . take it to the next level. Set a date to followup & engage in more exploration. And so on & so forth!

From my angle - “relationships” and “referrals” are not mutually exclusive. They are part n’ parcel of the same lifelong process we go about daily. Making a connection - building & growing a relationship - ultimately giving & receiving referrals to each other.

I encourage you to not think of it in linear fashion as if it were a line in the sand. But as a circle that goes ‘round n’ round‘!

May you make many ‘connections’ in your day,

Linda, fellow journeyer
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