Monday, December 12, 2011

Ripple Exercise: How Strong Is Your Connection?

So for this exercise you'll need a blank piece of paper and a pen.


Seriously?  Where's the paper and pen?  Quit reading until you have it.

Okay...very good.  Now you're ready.

I want you to think of your personal and professional network.   Think of all those friends, colleagues, co-workers, mentors, former bosses, clients, ex-whatevers.

So here's the tricky part.  I want you to pick the top 8 most important connections you have in your network today.  Pick those people who really make a difference to you and hold a special place in your life.  Perhaps they are a super huge business connection for you.  Perhaps they are someone who motivates you or inspires you.  Perhaps they are someone you love working with or for (customers, clients, employees, co-workers, bosses, etc.).  Maybe they are just someone who holds a special place in your heart (gosh I have tons of those).

Got your list? Tough huh?

Now for the fun part.

Assign a number to each of them based on who is the most important to you.  That's right, rank them 1 through 8.  Don't worry, they will never know so you don't have to worry about hurting feelings.  Just go with your gut.  Of the people on your list, who's most important to you 1 through 8?

Okay now turn your paper over and rewrite the names in the order you've just numbered them.

Got it?

Now I want you to look at your very top person on your list.  Think of how many interactions you've had with them starting one year ago to today.  How many in person coffees, lunches or happy hours did you have?  How many emails did you exchange?  How many phone calls did you have?  How many referrals did you give?  How many introductions did you provide them?  Think of all those times you commented on their Facebook, sent out a Tweet or interacted with them in some way.

Get that number and write it next to the person's name.  Repeat the process for all of your contacts.

Now for the tough part.  Of those interactions, what percentage of time did you initiate the contact?  Was is 10%, 20%, 50%?  Put a percentage by each person's name.  Guesstimating is okay.  In fact go with your gut on this one.

Okay, now I want you to think real hard about this next one.

Of that percentage you just came up with for the times you initiated contact, how strong were thoses contact experiences?  I mean really memorable, where you learned something significant about the other person. Helped the other person in some way.  Shared an experience.  Found a connection point (an interesting tidbit about the person you didn't already know).  In other words, deepened your connection and/or grew the relationship with them in some manner.

If you had to rank it on a scale of 0-5 with five being the best, how would you rank those all those contact experiences on average?

Oh and if you ended up realizing you never initiated contact with one of your contacts, they did all the reaching out and connecting, give yourself a 0.

Be honest.  Think real hard about it so you have a legitimate number.  Write it real big to the right of the person's name and circle it. 

Alright...good job!  That was harder than you expected huh?

On my next post, we'll talk about the significance of what you've just done and determine if you're right on track with your relationships with these people or if it needs some work.

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