By ERIC BRAUN
Entrepreneur, writer, community builder and co-founder of South Shore Innovation.
“Networking as we know it, as we have been taught it, is dead,” begins Superconnector, the new book on building business relations. Networking has been around in business since the invention of clams as a currency.
Today, in the age of cryptocurrencies (like bitcoin, ethereum and dogecoin), a hodge-podge gathering of somewhat random people just doesn’t cut it. We know we need more, and we acknowledge we want more. In comes Superconnecting to the rescue!
On Thursday, March 15, South Shore Innovation hosted a private party to launch the new book, Superconnector, by Quincy entrepreneur Ryan Paugh and his co-author, Scott Gerber. The event was sponsored by FoxRock Properties and catered by Suddenly Simple Events.
We curated the attendees and designed the event to be a learning opportunity with food and drink that would be conducive to superconnecting. I interviewed Ryan to help the attendees get a better understanding of superconnecting and provide for a learning opportunity.
“This book launch was an exciting moment for me, Scott, and The Community Company. I was glad to be able to share the night with my South Shore Innovation friends. There are so many smart and innovative people in Quincy. South Shore Innovation, and companies like FoxRock who are supporting their efforts, are leading the charge in bringing us together, showcasing our businesses, and getting us taken seriously in the greater Boston community.”
Superconnecting is not new, but Ryan and Scott compiled some valuable concepts together with real life stories for a fresh view on how to make better trusted connections in business. This insight is more relevant today than every in a world where most of us get sucked into the virtual social network void and often lose sight of how to make true connections.
According to the authors, research shows there could be more than 400 million people worldwide who are addicted to social media. Superconnecting can turn our virtual and live social interactions into more positive and productive experiences rather than wasted time.
In a nutshell, superconnecting is about using techniques to make people want to be with you and want to help you meet others and meet your goals. It’s about creating trusted relationships that are mutually beneficial. Typical networking often does the opposite and creates alienation or, at least, self-centeredness.
To achieve the positive outcomes of superconnecting, there are three main points: 1) asking questions, 2) helping others, and 3) avoiding the appearance of being a stalker.
By asking the people you are talking to about themselves, you show them you care about them and you learn valuable information about what they like, what they do and how they think. Networkers, on the other hand, often hijack a conversation and start selling at the other person. Nothing will create a wall and drive someone away faster than this.
In your communications, however, keep true to who you are. Authenticity creates trust which is a key component of building any strong relationship.
As Ryan puts it, “Now more than ever, it’s important to be yourself in business. Showcase your vulnerabilities, have less surface-level conversations, and let people know what makes you special. You can be your weird, wonderful self and be uber successful. With all of the phonies and hucksters out there crowding the room, it will be seen as a breath of fresh air.”
Once you’ve starting asking about the other person, they will inevitably ask about you in many cases, and voila, you have a productive two-way conversation. Even if they don’t ask about you, you learn about them, what they care about and how they think, which allows you to think about how you can help them with your skills, experience or products and services.
By knowing more about them, you will know better how to get them interested in what you have to offer than you ever could have guessed.
Ryan and Scott tell us, “Connecting is about finding out what the other person needs and how you can help.” Make sure to make it all about others, not about you.
No one likes a stalker. It’s creepy and creates more tension that trust. If you think you need to get at the top dog in a company or organization, going directly to them often backfires. They’re often too busy and a nervous first impression can make you feel like a star-struck stalker.
Alternatively, finding someone in their circle of influence — an assistance or colleague — could be less intimidating and the start of an easier conversation. If you can connect with them using the first two points, there’s a good chance they will help you meet the person you had hoped to meet.
In the book, John Ruhlin, author of Giftology, recalls an early mentor telling him, “If you do something for the inner circle, everything else in business seems to take care of itself.”
In our world today, where we feel like we have too little time to get things done, we often rush into a connection too quickly and end up destroying our chances for making it a valuable connection. Learning to be a superconnector can help change that.
But don’t take my word for it, read the book and uncover the details and stories that helped other entrepreneurs, including Ryan and Scott, grow their companies. It will be well worth your time.
Superconnector can be found at Amazon.com, Barnes and Nobles, iBooks and many local bookstores.