Did someone push the “up” button for the elevator?

OK, I know you might be getting tired of these posts, but I was boring someone to tears with my stories of Dragon*Con the other day and another networking concept popped into my head. Bear with me. I’m sure that I will work this out of my system in another week or so.

This time I was thinking about the stairs.

No, really. See, the thing about getting around at Dragon*Con is that there are usually around twenty to thirty thousand other people trying to get to the same places as you. The stairs, elevators, and escalators tend to become a little bit of a bottleneck. In fact, the hotels stage security at all of these locations to make sure no one blocks access.

Now, those of us who’ve been here a few times know that there are back staircases and hallways that get you where you want to go without having to fight the crowd too much. It saves a lot of time and frustration in the long run. Those who are new to the event just don’t have these resources at their disposal and have to do things the hard way.

We can experience a similar concept in networking. When we first start out, we have to start getting to know people. In order to evolve the relationship to the “Trust” level, we need to spend a lot of time with a person. We’ll probably have numerous lunches, coffees, emails, and phone calls before we reach the goal of a strong networking relationship.

Now let’s see what happens when we are a bit more experienced. We’ll already have developed numerous strong relationships, many of whom will be well-connected. Suddenly they can become our shortcuts when it comes to developing new relationships. People whom we meet for the first time may already have heard of us. Moreover, our existing connections will be willing to introduce and vouch for us to their contacts — an immediate jump on the process of developing the relationship.

What this means is if you are just starting out on the path to great networking, understand that these first connections are going to take a lot of work. Persevere. The effort you put forth right now will be the staircases and secret passages tomorrow which will get you to your networking goals before anyone else even gets to take the first step.