On June 19, Kelly Hoey, co-founder and managing director of Women Innovate Mobile, led a presentation titled, “The Champagne is Not Working.” Described as having a “profound ability to build strong networks…she understands when and how to activate a network, and how to leverage network connections to build value," Kelly provided a new perspective on this perennial subject.
Kelly asked the audience to take a critical look at our individual networks to determine their strength, by asking some telling questions:
- Focus on who is in your network; is it vibrant?
- If you put your contacts into buckets, are the buckets broad enough, or are they all focused on one industry?
- Who are your five critical people? How can you add value for them?
If you think that your network needs to be strengthened or broadened, plan on it taking about 18 months to build a new network. Also, Kelly indicated that it can take six months to activate contacts, meaning the time it takes to develop a relationship to the point where you can make a pitch.
Kelly stressed that our willingness to create and seek out opportunities for others is an essential key to building a strong network. She recommended keeping tabs on the people in our networks to learn about their interests, and then focusing our networking efforts with these people based on these interests. She noted that it’s possible to add value to your network from a variety of angles, including professional, personal interests and family situations (i.e. connecting through kids or not having kids).
As for attending networking events (hence the title of the program), Kelly emphasized the importance of having a goal in mind prior to attending an event.
Want to learn more about networking? Kelly recommended the book, “Your Network Is Your Net Worth” by Porter Gale.
By: Aileen Hinsch, Knapp Marketing for the July/August 2013 Issue of the Capital Ideas Newsletter.