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by Mark, Cremer, KCSAE Allied Director

As a long time Allied Member of KCSAE I wanted to share the valuable asset that being involved with KCSAE provides both Association members as well as Allied members. By attending our meetings there are so many great educational topics that we can all learn from, no matter where your association and involvement is with KCSAE.  The other value to each of us is in the friendships and relations we develop with all members of the organization.

Networking can be a powerful tool.  It can enhance your ability to lead and influence other people—but only when the people in your network value being connected with you—and value you for more just being just one of the hundreds of people in their network.  The power of networking lies in how well they know you, how much they trust you, how much they gain from having you in their network, how frequently you communicate with them, and how many other powerful people there are in your network.

Network power depends on how strong your relationships are, on how much attention you command when you engage people in your network, and on how attractive you are as a member of other peoples’ networks. If you are known as a source of deep expertise, for instance, and people can rely on you for expert solutions or creative ideas, you will be a more attractive network partner than someone who lacks that expertise.  If you know other powerful people and can access them whenever you need to, you will be a more attractive network partner.  Similarly, if you are in a position of authority in your organization and can make things happen, you will be a more valued network partner.  Finally, you will have more power in your network with the people you know best—with long-time colleagues, close friends, and others with whom you have developed mutual trust and respect.

Networking has long been recognized as a powerful tool for business people and professionals.  Knowing more people gives you greater access, facilitates the sharing of information, and makes it easier to influence others for the simple reason that influencing people you know is easier than influencing strangers.  The creators of LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter have built their empires on the presumption that their social networking tools help people build their networks and remain better connected than ever.  Does it follow, then, that social networks, by making connectivity easier, make leaders more powerful? The bottom line answer is no!

The benefits of social networking, while valuable to some degree depending on how robustly you use these networks, miss the essence of what makes personal networking such a powerful tool for leaders and other highly influential people.  The research on power and influence shows that people who are well networked are three times more influential than people who aren’t.  But their power is based on the social capital they have developed in building relationships with the people in their network—and you can’t build sufficient capital with people by merely “friending” them on Facebook or accepting an invitation to connect on LinkedIn.

We look forward to seeing you at our future KCSAE events and hope you find the value that comes from networking with all those you connect with!

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