You heard me right. Stop building your network.
Quit going to networking events.
Stop collecting business cards.
Don't invite any more people to link in with you on LinkedIn.
That's right, stop!
No I haven't flipped my lid. I haven't gone off the reservation, well at least not yet.
Seriously, I want you to stop adding even more people to your network until you've sufficiently managed and serviced your existing network.
Manage? Service? Oh dear boy I believe you have lost it.
Look at your network today. How many people do you have in your email address book? How many business cards are sitting on or in your desk right now? How many connections have you made via LinkedIn? How many people have you brought into your network via social media with tools like Twitter?
I bet if you really took a hard look the sheer number of people you're "connected" to will surprise you.
But here's the real surprise, it don't mean jack squat! (said loudly in my best Chris Farley impersonation)
If you aren't taking the time to develop those connections into real relationships you haven't really helped yourself. If you aren't continually focusing on a few people a week from your network that you want to learn more about or help in some way you're not helping yourself. If you aren't creating some sort of plan of action to how you create meaning with certain individuals you are missing the point of Rippling. And again...not helping yourself.
Networking is a numbers game. Numbers you can manage. Numbers you can focus on. Numbers you can develop into an advantage for both yourself and the ones you engage with.
In this "gotta have more" society, we are cultured to want to collect even more and more contacts and build bigger and bigger networks. But when you really think about it, that doesn't make sense.
If I plant a package of seeds in the ground but never water them, what will happen? Absolutely nothing. Now if I keep going to the store to get more more seeds and plant those but don't water them either what will happen? See a pattern here or is it just me?
Stop building your network. Start maintaining and growing the one you already have.