We have heard it a thousand times: when it comes to advancing our career, it’s “all about who you know.” Many people believe that more relationships equal more opportunity. We accumulate as many LinkedIn contacts as possible, but will a deeper rolodex actually make a difference? Simply building a network doesn’t lead to measurable change. The key is how you use that network by developing “connectivity.”

The big question to ask now is not how many contacts you have, but rather: how can you leverage your connections to create value and meaning in your life, community, career and organization?

The conversation needs to shift from quantity of connections to quality. Building relationships that lead to meaningful change involves making the smart connections, getting the right people together, and establishing connectivity. We have teamed up with Verizon to bring you some tips to start incorporating today on LinkedIn that will help you use resources in the smartest way.

Here are our top 3 ways to use your LinkedIn contacts to create connectivity:

  1. Look to your competition for collaboration

When trying to get big things done, seek opportunities with your competitors. Look at people who work in your field that you might normally view as competition. Ask yourself how you could support each other and work together.

  1. Reimagine what your skills could be used for.

Get you out of your comfort zone and rethink how you can use your skills and your contacts. Be creative about how you partner with people in other industries and how you apply your skills in a different context.

  1. Start or join courageous conversations.

After you network with new people at an event, start a discussion online about it. Share three things that really challenged your perceptions with other attendees and ask them to join in. Once you have a good thread going, think about how you can take what is discussed online and transfer that into real world business solutions. Spend time getting to know new people from the conversation. Take a risk and after you introduce yourself on LinkedIn, ask someone for coffee or a virtual Skype meeting who has a radically different career or perspective on life than you do. Our greatest sources of help might come from where you least expect it.

 

The key is not contacts; it is connection. Using these three techniques, we can all foster “connectivity” to get big things done.

 

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