Doing what I do, you would probably guess that I run into networkers of all different levels all the time. Of course, I’m particularly interested in the behavior of those whom I consider to be truly accomplished networkers. I figure the more that I emulate them, the better off I will be. One trait that’s come to my attention lately is that most of the great networkers of my acquaintance have gone beyond just attending events and meeting people. They actually organize communities.

I was just chatting with my new friend Paul Larned, owner of Larned & Associates, LLC. He also happens to be the director of the local chapter of Free Networking International and runs and manages the weekly gatherings. He’s found that in this position, he gets to know a lot of skilled individuals. As a result, he says he gets to be a center of influence in the area and can almost always advise someone whenever they are looking for goods or services.

Of course, I’ve talked about my friend Bruce Webb in the past. He actually runs two events. Both are once a month. The first is his educational breakfast where he brings in speakers to present topics of interest to small business people in the area. The second is a “social” — a much more casual evening affair at a local bar. No matter which one you attend, Bruce is your contact. Interesting that he also maintains his “Book of Love” which is a list of all of the people whom he can refer to anyone he meets.

Of course, no list like this would be complete without talking about my mom, Debby Peters. Debby teaches classes in advanced networking down in Ohio. Much of what I know about networking today, I learned from her. She maintains a whole community of those folks who have completed her networking course — over 500 strong. Think about it. She’s a great networker who teaches about networking and manages a fairly extensive group of advanced networkers. Let’s just say I’m never surprised if we run into someone who knows her when we are out on the town.

Of course we need to learn and practice all of our networking techniques. These are the basic tools which will help us to establish a the strong connections which support us in all we do. The next logical step then is to extend those same techniques to form communities. The more people we can bring into those communities, the more benefit we can bring to each member of the group and, consequently, the stronger our own network will grow.

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