Want to Improve Your Relationships? Drop Out of More Groups

drop-out-of-more-groupsHere’s the problem with networking these days: we’re all stretched too thin.

There are too many opportunities for networking. Not too few. It’s hard to know where to spend your time.

So here’s my solution: drop out of more groups.

That’s right, I said it: drop out of more groups. (You have my permission, for what that’s worth.)

The problem today is it’s too easy to join groups, so many of us join too many.

It’s too easy – we can all join dozens of LinkedIn and Facebook groups with a few clicks of the mouse. There are new tools for networking online created each day that make it easier and easier.

We’re left with a false sense that we’re doing something to “network” when in fact it does nothing. Zilch.

I advocate minimizing the number of groups and activities you are involved in, but going much deeper with the chosen few you decide to target.

I’m probably going to take some flak for this opinion.

But if your goal is to get better at networking, what you need to do is FOCUS and CONCENTRATE your efforts.

I know it’s kind of counter-intuitive.

You’ll find your focused efforts to target a few specific groups will result in a much better returns.

Here’s how you do it:

  • First, pick the 3-5 groups which are really targeted and highly focused for your career or business goals. (Read more about the Conversation list strategy here.)
  • Second, find out how you can deepen your involvement with these groups. See if you can join the board, or at least a subcommittee. Organize an event. Offer to speak to the group.
  • Third, eliminate your involvement in other groups you belong to which are not aligned with your career or business goals. Drop off their mailing lists. Don’t go to any more of their in-person events. Stop paying dues. Stop attending conferences.
  • Fourth, use a “Results and Revenue” worksheet (something I talk about in Power Networking) to monitor the results of your deeper involvement in these groups.
  • Finally, after 12 months, make any changes necessary. You may need to drop out of certain unproductive groups and join others.

If you haven’t labeled me a heretic yet (or at least stopped reading), then I think you’ll agree that taking these steps will really help your networking efforts.

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  • Jim T. Serranin

    Well said. I’ve spent too much time joining larger groups on LinkedIn that I don’t really participate in. But those aren’t even as bad as the ones I spend time with each month. I’ve always thought they are a waste of time and you just confirmed it.

    • http://www.smartbusinessrevolution.com/ John Corcoran

      I agree, Jim. For what it’s worth, I’ve made the same mistakes – joining too many groups rather than focusing on a handful. Thanks for your comment.

  • Ray Simon

    Great point, John. It’s easy to think that you can get business by having light touches with everyone, but committing more time to deeper relationships with fewer people pays off more.

    • http://www.smartbusinessrevolution.com/ John Corcoran

      I totally agree, Ray. In theory, it sounds great – join 20 different groups and you have 20X as much chance of getting connections and referrals and business from all of those groups. But in reality, I don’t think it plays out that way. You end up just spinning your wheels, taking up a lot of your time with various different activities rather than diving deep into the groups that really matter and help.