Surround Yourself with Smart People

You’re probably quite smart in a number of ways.

That number, however, is limited. Which is why you want to surround yourself with people who are savvy in lots of other ways.

It’s not a bad thing to build a large network of people (on-line and off-line). Just be sure that, in the process, you’re also building a smart network.

There are tons of very bright people out in the social sphere, and it’s really not that hard to find them, connect with them, start getting to know them. But the real value isn’t having their name on a list. It’s having their ear and brain and experience and connections when you need them (and them having access to yours).

Behind the scenes, I’m often brainstorming, and refining ideas, with all sorts of people (many of whom I met via social networking). They have whole realms of experience and perspective that I can’t possibly draw up from my own limited well. They have riches of insight and depths of knowledge that I’ll never attain in this little noggin.

A smart network is not a whole lot different than applying the Golden Rule. Being a good neighbor. Sharing resources. If you offer me a glass of Cabernet when I need it, should I go out and plant a vineyard – especially when I was quite happy to give you some bacon when you ran out last week? What’s the alternative – you go out and buy a pig?

So how do you go about building a smart network? Here are 3 astoundingly simple steps – we’re talking duh-level – that you already know. Just do them.

    1. Reach out. Say hi on Twitter. Reply to something they’ve written. Believe it or not, other smart people will enjoy your initiative and interaction, just as you do.
    2. Share your own expertise. Generously. Consistently. Without any baked-in quid pro quo.
    3. Ask. The 4 words, “Can you help me?” are very hard to resist when you have gained even a baseline amount of familiarity and credibility.

When you provide value, well-mixed with kindness and sincerity, you will be well on your way to a smart network. No PhD required. Now, about that Cabernet…

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About Steve Woodruff
Steve Woodruff is a blogger, a Connection Agent, and a consultant in the pharma/healthcare industry. He specializes in helping people and companies make mutually beneficial connections.

4 Responses to Surround Yourself with Smart People

  1. Pingback: Impactiviti Daily 042310 Top Pharma News « Impactiviti blog

  2. Akash Sharma says:

    Hi Steve,We talk about conversations not effective conversations which can hold some sort of longevity as usually they are based on latest trends and phase out soon.
    To make sure they last longer as you mentioned above we have to ask for help directly and be more generous in our day-to-day interactions.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and yes when people like you are sharing precious knowledge it does not costs a PHD to build a smart network.

  3. Cheryl Smith says:

    I think it’s particularly important to know what we don’t know! I also heard it’s good to have specific people in your network. I’ve found this to be true. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve benefitted from having the following people in my network: doctor/nurse, attorney, plumber, computer (hardware) person (I married one), and for bloggers – someone who knows code. I’m wondering what other categories you and others would add to that list…

    Of course, it’s also tremendously helpful to know someone in pharma! :)

  4. Simply and beautifully said! I am always amazed and pleasantly surprised how eager bright people are to connect and offer help when asked. Every time I have reached out I have been rewarded with great information, friendships and ideas – all of which I am happy to share if anyone needs it!

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