As most of you know by now, I teach networking/relationship building both one on one and for workplaces, conferences, non-profits and the like. I am always encouraging people to expand their networks. Of course it is important to cultivate the relationships you already have but your inner circle of friends and family tend to know a lot of the same people. You next job, client or business opportunity is most likely to come from someone that is NOT close to you. Why? Because these folks move in different circles and can make warm introductions to people in their own networks.

This week I had the privilege of hearing the President of 85 Broads Sallie Krawcheck speak and she reiterated this idea, “Loose connections are more likely to lead to your next business opportunity than close connections. So it is really having a network out there.” Sallie stressed the importance of networking more with those you are “friendly” with rather than those that are “friends.”

These loose connections are people that may have met you a few times at events. They may be second or third degree connections on LinkedIn. They have a different perspective about you than your family and friends and this may allow them to think about key people to introduce you to that others would not.

I encourage you to think about networking with as many people as possible but also be more strategic with your networking. Check out new groups with different  people in order to have a more diverse network. Make sure to network with people outside of your industry.

It becomes very important to make a good first impression on those that you meet. You never know. Six months later they may make an introduction that could change your business!