7 Questions to Ask Yourself to Determine Who Should Be In Your Ideal Network


20 minutes defining your ideal network in advance will save you 20 years of wasted effort.  Tweet this.

Quick question. Who are the 50 people you should get to know better in the next 12 months?

I’m talking about the top performers, the VIPs, the successful business owners and even your current or past clients who you would benefit from getting to know better.

Do you know who those 50 people are?

Let me put this question another way: if you had an ideal circle of friends which was made up of only the most successful, the most admired, and the most well known individuals in your industry, what would that circle look like?

If you don’t know the answer, you’re not alone. Most people can’t identify the people who they most want to deepen relationships with.

So what do you think happens instead? I’ll tell you. Instead of deliberately and intentionally building a circle of friends and colleagues who people want to get to know better, they let it all unfold at random.

Do you think that’s a good idea? Uhhh… no. Absolutely not.

But you’re not going to let that happen to you, right?  RIGHT.

One of the first pieces of advice I give to anyone who wants to get better at using relationships to grow their business, is they must create their Conversations Lists.

What Are Conversations Lists, and How to Create Your Conversations Lists

In the Conversation List Strategy, I explained that your Conversations Lists are three separate lists of the people, organizations and events that you decide, proactively, you are going to deepen your relationship with.

But in this post, I’m going to help you ask the 7 critical questions you need to ask yourself to figure out what people go on your Conversations Lists.

I want you to print up this post and hand-write your answers to the questions below.

In later posts, I will focus on questions you should ask yourself to determine what organizations and events you should target.

This is no small issue. In fact, your income, your business, and your future will all be affected by who you include on this list, and who you don’t include. (No pressure, though!)

Your network is truly your net worth. (To borrow a phrase from author Porter Gale.)

Now, don’t worry about your answers being perfect. Your answers are not going to be set in stone. Your Conversations Lists should be lists which change over time. You’ll want to remove people and add more people over time as your goals evolve and as you develop relationships.

For starters, I suggest you brainstorm all of the people who you admire, look up to, and wish you knew better in your industry. To help you with that, I have created a these questions.

Give yourself about 20 minutes to fill in your answers.

20 minutes defining your ideal network in advance will save you 20 years of wasted effort.

So, here are the questions:

1. If you had the opportunity to work with anyone, who would it be?



2. Are there any VIPs in your actual or desired industry who you would just LOVE to have a close relationship with? Put these people down.


3. If you had your ideal business or career – where you woke up each morning thrilled to go to work – who are the people who you’d want to be able to pick up the phone, call and just talk through ideas with?


4. Think of a project or task in the last 12 months that you really enjoyed. Who were the people you worked with on that project? Would you want to work with them again?


5. What non-fiction books have you read recently that relate to your actual or desired industry? List any of the (still-living) authors:



6. Are there any current clients or customers, or past clients or customers, who you have really enjoyed working with? List them:


7. Do you have any friends of friends who are in your actual or desired industry who you’d like to get to know better?



What Questions Do You Suggest?

What do you think of these 7 questions? Are they helpful? Are there any better questions you should ask yourself to determine who should go on your Conversation List? If so, please post it in the comments below.

Photo credit: Flickr


  1. Candice Tellaney says:

    Here’s another suggestion – what biographies do you like to read? I love reading biographies about successful business founders. I think that can shed some light on where you want to go with your network.

  2. another one.. “who would you like to read your eulogy?”

  3. > Para an

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