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Always learning, always wondering, always sharing!

Connecting vs Networking

Have you ever thought about what it means to connect people? Perhaps you have helped two people come together, or recommended a product/business to a friend or client. Without knowing it you have practiced the basic functions of a connector. The more one connects and develops a natural curiosity to learn about the people around him or her, the more this person becomes a source people turn to for guidance and support. The unbiased objective of a connector is to expand and develop him or herself, which ultimately will reap rewards that a networking focused approach will not. Connections can happen anywhere and with anyone, and keeping a wide eye open for opportunities to engage not yourself but others is crucial to a connectors livelihood. BRAVO! happily discovered the role we play as a connector when our client US Soccer Foundation un-expectantly partnered with our client Safe Shores to provide services to help children in need.

I am currently an Ambassador for Safe Shores, Washington DC’s Children’s Advocacy Center, which has been a wonderful opportunity and pleasure to expand BRAVO!’s scope and ability to help others. The experience has been a very positive one and on April 3, I will be sharing what I believe in with eight of my closest friends at their 1st fundraiser which benefits not only the children that the organization supports, but it allows everyone coming to the event to build an understanding of the pressing issue of Child Abuse.

When I was in the process of selecting guests to join me on Tuesday morning, I had the opportunity to introduce the COO of US Soccer to Safe Shores. Their mission made such a profound impact on Soccer that a powerful connection was made! After discussing with Safe Shores what they could do to make a difference, Safe Shores now partners with US Soccer Foundation to train coaches for all of their programs to know how to identify and assist victims of child abuse during their spring and summer programs. What a difference this is going to make and all because a person had an idea to share what they know and love with others. What began as a desire to share Safe Shores with people connected to children turned into a partnership that will positively not only impact children but the adults as well!

In an article entitled, “Forget Networking, How to Be a Connecter” by Alina Tugend, Alina quotes Malcom Gladwell saying “’sprinkled among every walk of life…are a handful of people with a truly extraordinary knack of making friends and acquaintances’. They are connectors. They have the ability to span many different worlds, subcultures and niches.” The value of a true connector is priceless.

Malcom Gladwell, a writer for the NewYorker magazine, explains the difference between Salesmen, Mavens, and Connectors in his widely popular book The Tipping Point. Which begs the question, how do you know if you are one?

A Connectors sole objective is to understand. If you can identify as a person that is generous in sharing your relationships or knowledge with others around you then you are most likely a connector. Being curious about people around you and what they do helps you learn, expand, develop, and understand new industries. Curious, smart, talented and valuable people meeting together and learning from one another can only end positively.

The power of the connector is enormous. It allows for the right people to be introduced to the right opportunities which produces the best results. The connector has no personal interest in pushing their own agenda but to help others with theirs. Allowing others to do their job well and not being threatened by others is a key point of being a connector.

A networker’s goal starting out is to accomplish something for his or herself. The goal is selfish – getting a lead for themselves. Networkers want to walk away from a situation knowing that a goal was obtained and the means to an end was reached. But when you walk into a networking event with no expectations but rather set your site on learning and developing yourself, it’s amazing what changes can come.

BRAVO!'s objective is to connect interesting people on all sorts of levels, connecting vendors with potential clients or connecting young people with places of employment We are proud to help with the connections people want to have in life that are so important and valuable.

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