How to Create A Culture That Fosters Introductions & Connections
Updated: Feb 22
I recently gave a talk to members of a chamber of commerce on the value of making introductions. I asked the group how many of them had made an introduction in the last day or two. No hands went up. Well, what about in the last week? Only one hand.
One of the great perks of joining a chamber of commerce, trade association, or other organization is the opportunity to meet new people. If everyone joins organizations with the hope of making connections and expanding their networks, why don’t we make more introductions?
How to Make Valuable Introductions for Your Members
Leadership should set the example. They need to demonstrate that they prioritize connecting their membership, and then back it up with data.
It takes a plan and the right technology.
To get started, leadership should seek to respond to member requests for specific introductions, as well as suggest optimal connections. There is no reason to limit contacts to only members. Making introductions is a great excuse to reach out to potential members.
But what if members don’t know where to begin, or whom they want to meet? That’s where innovative leadership strikes. This is the time for the leadership team to better understand their members' goals and how the organization can support them. Together, they can brainstorm the type of connections that can move their members forward. These conversations hold the opportunity to build stronger ties between leadership and members.
Moreover, leadership should set a reasonable goal for the number of introductions they intend to make over a specific period of time, say 6 weeks, and share it with their members. This should be a project that members are excited and motivated to participate in.
Finally, after the 6 weeks, leadership should report back to their membership on the number of connections that were actually made, how many members received connections, and highlight some of the results of those connections. Did they lead to sales and, if so, how much new business was generated? Did they lead to new collaborations? What types? Did they lead to speaking engagements? What else?
Additionally, leadership should give members a platform for speaking about successful introductions which could become a rich source of testimonials.
Once leadership gets into the routine of, not just making connections (which so many leaders do already), but reporting on those connections, their members will take notice. They will see the value of thoughtful connections and be spurred to make introductions of their own, on behalf of other members, and beyond the organization.
So, how can your organization track and optimize their connections?
The right technology should be easy to use, and capture the connection right as it’s being made.
Connector Street is a free app that enables fast and easy intros with just a few clicks. The new version, Connector Street for Enterprise, enables organizations to add their logo, branding and custom language.
Also, the app’s dashboard allows organizations to share the branded app with their team and their members. Leadership will track all introductions made across the organization for follow up and data analytics.
It is not enough for an organization to merely tout the promise of connections. They should back it up with hard data that shows how many connections are being made and how many members are participating. The soft data of testimonials from satisfied members helps too.
Some time soon, we will re-enter the in-person world. And when we do, organizations will offer events and meetings as a way for members to meet new people. But events are only good for a subset of individuals who attend, and an even smaller subset who are outgoing “networkers.”
That's why leadership needs to take an active role in making introductions during in-person events, and in the virtual downtime between events and meetings. An organization that fosters a culture of making connections offers the rewards of networking, but in a personalized, curated and high-touch environment. This, in turn, leads to a closer, more cohesive organization and, after all, isn’t that what we are striving for?
Want to develop this culture in your organization? Let’s chat.
Andrea Tinianow is a Delaware attorney and founder of the Connector Street app. Andrea is a frequent speaker and Forbes author on a range of topics related to making connections, innovation, blockchain technology and the law. Watch Andrea’s TedX talk on The Power of Making Connections or connect with her on LinkedIn.