The Best LinkedIn Message I Ever Crafted…

…came in the winter of 2013, titled “Happy New Year & Happy Connections.” At its core, it posed the question:

“Who can I introduce you to so you can achieve your goals in 2014?”

This single communication propelled me into a new chapter of “Pay-it-forward networking” and entrepreneurial exploration; it landed me increased sales, a new job at an amazing startup, and introductions to some of the best people in Silicon Valley. But most importantly, it revived my sense of purpose.

So how does a question about helping others result in so much personal gain?

Consider this the Knotwork manifesto.

From a very early age, my mother demonstrated to me the power of networking. Everyone knew Nancy, and Nancy knew everyone…and everything about them. We used to joke that within five minutes of meeting someone, she could identify the color of their underwear. But her key to connecting people wasn’t her encyclopedic memory; it was that she wasn’t in it for personal gain. She was simply curious and driven by a strong desire to help others achieve their goals.

Still, to many the word “Networking” evokes more conflicted emotions. It feels “salesy,” or slimy; like a relationship is being forced in the least natural possible way. It can prompt an almost visceral reaction. For many, going to a networking event exists somewhere between a visit to the dentist and a visit to the morgue.

So how can we as humans crave bonds and social validation, yet at the same time shudder at the concept of putting ourselves out there and actually connecting?

The puzzle to be solved is a matter of perception. How do we manipulate the act of networking into the true gold that we know it can be? It will require a bit of social alchemy, but we’re in luck – Knotwork is the first reagent.

–Bill Bricker, @knotworkapp

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