How To Network: 

10 Reasons Why Connecting is Critical

Do you get the title, or am I dating myself? If you’re not familiar with the fun and wacky David Letterman, check him out on YouTube. I used to love his top ten lists every night, and since my name is pronounced the same… well, you get the connection.

Fun fact – I actually tried to convince my husband that we should pronounce our last name LEAD-er-man since I am a leadership speaker, but as you'd expect, he didn't go for it.

In the spirit of the giving season, I thought I'd give you Michelle Tillis Lederman's Top 10 Reasons for Connecting. If you ever wonder why so many people talk about the importance of knowing how to network, here are my top 10 reasons. 

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Keep reading to find out why connecting is CRITICAL to growth, and how you can do it effectively.

10. Get a Job

Did you know 85% of jobs come from who you know? When I started doing this work, it was around 60%, and the number grows year after year and is even higher for those at the executive level. 

You can't get a new job unless you hear about the opportunity. Often by the time a job is posted online, an internal candidate or a referral is already lined up.

Having friends within your industry helps open doors. The more to connect with people, the more likely you’re to discover opportunities as they become available.

If you can demonstrate your skills and experience to your connections, it won't be long until they recognize your capabilities. If they like you, you'll likely be the person they think of next time they're hiring.

Business is all about relationships. People want to work with people they like being round at that they can trust. This is completely normal human behavior and advantageous to everyone.

Don't be afraid to put yourself out there and show people what you can do and what you know. Learn about effective networking and then who knows what opportunities might end up in front of you.

9. Get a promotion

You get promoted when someone behind closed doors decides you deserve it. What you need is for someone at the table to be your champion. People with mentors were five times more likely to receive promotions than people without them.

You may have heard a lot about mentors in recent years. The concept of a mentor is becoming very popular among those interested in personal development.

In fact, mentoring helps to improve both promotion and retention. "Retention rates were higher for both than for employees who did not participate in a mentoring program."

A mentor is anyone that takes you under their wing, teaches you about the job, passes on their skills, and guides you to the top. People enjoy being mentors just as much as people enjoy being a mentee.

With a mentor, you can grow quicker. You have direct access to information and skills from someone already successful in their position. Their experience and advice are invaluable.

Mentors offer you something that can't be bought, professional socialization, and personal support that directly facilitates success. You have access to invaluable information and skills, and the mentor gets a great employee who they can trust to work in their best interest.

When it comes to moving up through the ranks, those with mentors are usually top of the pile for the promotion. The relationship between a mentor and mentee is strong. Each person wants the other to succeed. It's a recipe for success.

mentees (22% more) and mentors (20% more)

8. Get a new client

It can be tough to get clients and easy to lose clients if your connection is not strong. As we know, a poor relationship or a terrible customer service experience results in the loss of business and repeat clientele. 

We all have those companies we'll never buy from again, based on how they treated us in the past or something that doesn't quite sit well with us in the present. Our relationships with our customers or clients are SO critical. 

People want to work with people they like. It's that simple. Learn the best way to network with people, then build that network, and people will love you and want to work with you more. Once you start to connect and expand your network, new client opportunities will arise.

When a prospective client sees you as a person, and they enjoy spending time with you, it's likely they will want to hire you. Business is about trust. If the client feels confident in you as a person, that can be a powerful advantage.

Not only do you want to have a healthy relationship if something goes wrong, it can withstand the issue, but also, you want your clients to refer you to other clients.

7. Make a sale or get a referral

As we get more engrossed with artificial intelligence each day, right now, people still do business together, and businesses need relationships too. People are four times more likely to buy when referred by a friend.

Think of when you make a purchase or decide to buy. Do you consult reviews or ask for recommendations? The more connections you have, the wider your web of positive recommendations for business will grow.

The best form of advertising is word of mouth. It always has been and always will be. The reason? We’re still tribal in our mentality. We all want to form relationships with people we like, and we also enjoy making other people's lives easier.

If a client thinks you're great, they will be more than happy to tell their connections. If you can solve people's problems in business, they will actively talk to other people about your product or service.

The more people that talk about you and recommend your work, the more opportunities and business you will get. That’s why it’s so important to learn how to network effectively.

6. Reduce your stress

I get asked about this one a lot as a coach. "How do I manage my stress or bring my stress level down?" Research shows strong social connections reduce stress hormones and increase dopamine, which produces the sensation of pleasure.

Connections don't just feel good—they’re good for us. Think of the bright spot in your day. Was it the coffee break with a friendly co-worker or a commonality you found with a new hire? 

These moments create connections and reduce our stress, even if it's just for a few minutes. Sharing our thoughts, issues, and ideas with other people is therapeutic and is essential to our wellbeing.

When we hold onto our problems, we build stress up on the inside. This is why business networking groups and events exist. Use networking event tips to help you make better use of your tour time networking. This allows us to connect with similar people. We can share our concerns, discuss issues, and celebrate our successes.

Humans are social animals that need support. We also enjoy giving support to others. We like to share the burden to help relieve pressure and stress from our own minds. If we all share each other's concerns and issues, things don't feel so bad.

One of the most significant issues in modern business is stress. In fact, 83% of US workers suffer from work-related stress. US businesses lose up to $300bn a year because of workplace stress. These figures are frightening.

While these stats are not solely down to a lack of social connection, it certainly plays a huge part. It's also a negative cycle where lack of social connection leads to stress, and stress then affects personal relationships.

Learning how to make connections allows us to break this cycle and is vital to reducing the number of lonely and stressed people in our workplaces. 

So, let it all out. Seek human connection for the sake of your mental health and well being. You don't have to go on this journey alone. In fact, you shouldn't.

5. Be more influential

Building a rapport and finding common ground with others creates a focus on your effectiveness of building relationships and networks. There are multiple ways to be influential, and if you’re not in the power position, the subculture of your relationships is critical.

Think about how certain things get done. Is it always because the boss said to do it, or is it because you had a relationship with the inside person who helped you make it happen?

You can be influential with group decision-making if you aren't the one responsible by knowing who to go to for what reason.

As you become more confident in your ability to influence others and make changes, you start to become a true professional. The top business people know how to network and how to win people over. They manage teams successfully and achieve goals through social cohesion.

Don't undervalue the power of being influential. Being influential doesn't just allow you to change others' behaviors, it helps you switch people's mindsets. It's a truly powerful tool that can assist you on your journey to professional success.

4. Be seen as more innovative

Do you always just love Karina's ideas? Insert the name of your co-worker who consistently brings her A game with excellent and innovative solutions. Now think, does it have anything to do with the connection you have with this person? 

The quantity and quality of your relationships predict how innovative you'll be; it has to do with the way your ideas meet and are transformed by others.

Does Karina elevate your ideas too? When you’re liked as an employee, you’re seen as trustworthy and your ideas more credible.

Innovation is vital to the workplace. Businesses are about growth, development, and reaching new goals. Without innovation, a workplace can become stagnant and demotivating.

A business with an innovative culture can grow much easier than one without. Only doing what is tied and tested in a sure-fire way to stay stagnant. People and businesses must innovate and try new things to create success for themselves.

If you set yourself apart from the rest by being innovative, you can really shine. Innovators are always thinking of ways to do things better. Innovation gives companies that edge over their competitors.

It's no surprise then that employers and clients love innovators. Innovation leads to improvement, which leads to bigger opportunities, which leads to more chances of success.

That's not to say there isn't an element of risk. But, look at any successful individual or company, and you will find several risks taken to get to where they’re.

3. Live longer

Yes! It's true. Connection matters enormously to your overall health, even to your longevity.

In a study of more than 3.4 million participants, Brigham Young University professor Julianne Holt-Lunstad found social isolation and loneliness to have a greater impact on mortality than obesity, and lacking social connections carries a risk similar to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day.

People with greater social connections were associated with a 50% lower risk of early death in contrast to lonely people. When most people are lying on their deathbeds, not having strong friendship groups or healing broken relationships is usually one of their biggest regrets.

Humans are incredibly social creatures. It's deeply ingrained within our DNA because, for hundreds of thousands of years, this is what helped us to survive. Life is tough, but you can make it much easier with healthy social connections.

Healthy social connections not only improve your longevity, but they improve your physical and psychological wellbeing. Social connectedness creates a positive feedback loop of social, emotional, and physical wellbeing.

Think about your current personal and work life. Do you have strong relationships and social connections? What part do they play in your personal and professional life?

Personal friends can cheer you up. They can make you laugh. They can allow you to open up about issues and offer advice. Or just listen.

Business connections allow you to share your concerns. They can offer professional advice from their own experience. They can take some of the pressure off and remind you that what you're going through is normal when things get tough.

All of this enables you to relieve stress from your own mind. You can rest a little easier knowing you have others to depend on. When we're alone, it can feel like the weight of the world is against us.

2. Make things happen faster, easier & often with a better outcome

When you have someone to reach out to or even the friend of someone, the speed of your results is expedited just because you knew a person. 

Have you ever been on "a list" to get in somewhere? What happens, you cut the line and get right in. Have you ever sent a resume of a friend right to the hiring manager, avoiding the long application form and review process by a recruiter? Have you ever been upgraded to First Class and boarded the plane first?

You’re on the fast track. All of these connections make things happen faster, easier, and often with better results. In today's world, speed and convenience are a necessity.

Having good connections can help you move forward quicker. Knowing that guy who can push through paperwork because of his own connections is useful. Knowing that woman who is a genius when it comes to tax returns is useful.

Once we learn effective networking, the more useful connections we can make, and the more we can start to see the window of opportunity for doing things faster, and more effectively. The more time we save, the more time we have to tackle the important tasks in our lives.

Learning how to network and establishing a network will help you to achieve your goals quicker. People are quick to help as long as you also offer your expertise and advice from time to time. It doesn't have to involve money, it can be a simple exchange of skills that benefit both parties.

1. Be Happier

This is a big one because the term "Happy" is so relative and fleeting at times. However, overall relationships impact our happiness both off and on the job.

According to the Journal of Applied Psychology, close work friendships boost employee satisfaction by 50% and predict happiness at work. 

In another study, Gallup found that people with a best friend at work are seven times more likely to engage fully in their work. Do you have friends at work? Is that the best part of your day sometimes? 

In the book The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor, he says, "each one of us is like that butterfly, the Butterfly Effect. And each tiny move toward a more positive mindset can send ripples of positivity through our organizations, our families, and our communities."

Working towards happiness opens the door to monumental opportunities for success in all areas of your life. Social connections are an integral part of your happiness and something we should all be working on.

Happiness at work is a topic I constantly get asked about and speak about. If nothing else, make an effort to connect with someone to increase your happiness at work. It's something within your control and might just change your whole outlook in a good way.

Not convinced yet? Read my book, The Connector's Advantage, and learn how to apply these tips and more!


7 Mindsets To Grow Your Influence And Impact

What Clients and Audiences Are Saying

Helping People Work Better Together

Michelle brings an authenticity and passion ...

Michelle brings an authenticity and passion to every interaction, whether coaching, public speaking or being the guiding hand on a project. Michelle has helped me to see a path to the doors of opportunities and possibilities that seemed far from my reach. She helped me to realize just how reachable they are.

Allan Goldberg  //  Global Head of Talent, Gartner

Michelle was wonderful to work with ...

Michelle was wonderful to work with and delivered results in a short space of time. Finding the right balance between easy to get on with and challenging made our conversations enjoyable and effective. She has helped me to see the world and people around me differently, enabling me to network more effectively and take control of my career.

Matt Kinnaird  //  Global Category Leader of Enterprise Facility Services, Johnson & Johnson

Michelle’s comfortable, engaging style ...

Michelle’s comfortable, engaging style combined with her warmth and grace, make her an outstanding coach and teacher. She is a natural for sharing lessons on learning to network and relationship networking. She inspires those who are shy about taking the first steps to networking.

Cindy Moser  //  Membership Coordinator, Pathstones by Phoebe

THe connector's advantage

7 Mindsets to grow your influence and impact