Introduce Someone to Someone Today
How connecting other people to each other can change their lives for the better.
Four years ago, I attended a conference where I met a start-up founder who would end up being my summer internship boss , who would then introduce me to my next internship boss, and from that internship I would be equipped to start my full-time job this summer. Meanwhile, that first internship helped me grow into the person who would get elected to a national student leadership position, where I would reconnect with one of my old friends from a leadership camp, who would then go on to introduce me to the man who I’m going to marry.
Are you still tracking? If you’re not, it’s okay—I get confused by my own life’s connections, too. But did you notice the key thread? People introduced me to other people, and most of the best things in my life right now are the result of those people. Connecting other people to each other matters.
Has anyone ever introduced you to someone you didn’t know? Has that stranger ended up influencing major aspects of your life? Maybe someone connected you with a future employer, new best friend, or perhaps you’re one of the rare folks who's been set up on a blind date which actually worked out. No matter the scenario, there’s no debate that connections can change our lives. The more we connect others in our lives, the better the world becomes. But, how do we know whom to connect with whom?
Look for common sparks
One of my mentors is exceptionally good at recognizing when two people who don’t know each other should know each other. I don’t know exactly how he does it, but I do know this: he’s always looking for what I call “sparks” in people. Sparks are those things that cause people to light up, the topics or ideas they bring up that they wouldn’t have to, but they do because it matters to them. He also thinks laterally about how those sparks might connect with other peoples’ sparks, whether or not they would make the connection themselves. When I reached out for help while running for the student leadership position, one of my sparks was the idea of preserving tradition while encouraging innovation; he saw how this connected with one of his friend’s experiences in leadership at a commodity trade association, and immediately sent an email introduction.
The other day, I met a dairy farmer in Colorado who had a spark for involving the community in her business. Immediately, I thought of my California dairy farmer friend who has a brilliant vision for how to adapt the brand image of dairy products, making it more about an experience than just a set of products. Two similar but slightly different sparks, and I knew the two needed to know each other. I made a quick text introduction and, while I don’t know where the connection may lead, I know I did my part.
Like most things in life, if you look for it, you’ll find it. Choose to look for what lights people up, and choose to make connections with others who have similar sparks.
Become known as a connector of people
One of the other ways to help make connections is to build your personal brand as someone who is well networked and likes to share their network. The single most important thing we can do to become known as such a person? Be that kind of person. Think about it: If you know someone who frequently says “hey, I met someone this week at a conference and I think you should meet them,” or “if you’re looking for an internship at an ag finance company, I can connect you with some of the people at my job” or some other version of “I know someone you should know,” odds are you’ll go to them when you know you need to broaden your network for a particular reason. Why not start being that person? You don’t have to have a huge network to start; just keep meeting people, looking for the spark, and connecting the sparks.
You might hesitate. “What if I connect people and nothing comes of it?” Okay, so what? The worst that happens is they had a phone call or an email exchange and moved on. No harm done. The risk is far too insignificant to outweigh the upside potential of a deeply valuable connection. (I mean, seriously, what if my friend Cody decided it wasn’t worth introducing me to his friend Noah? I wouldn’t know what I know now about finance, I probably wouldn’t have started powerlifting, and, well, I wouldn’t be engaged. Life would be very different, that’s for sure.)
We know connections make a difference, and many will tell us to network for our own sake. But, networking just for ourselves is missing an entire dimension of the value of knowing people: the more people we know, the more people we can introduce to someone else we know. The more people we can introduce to someone, the more value we can create for those around us. Go look for a spark today, and don’t be afraid to connect it.
P.S. If you’re looking for practical steps to make these connections, have no fear! We’ll talk about that next week, so be sure to check your inbox next Tuesday morning.
Journal Prompt of the Week
How has someone connected you to someone else who has changed your life?
Share with the Community
What are some tips you have for making introductions between two people who don’t know each other? How have you seen others make those introductions?