Frank Agin

When you think of networking, what do you think of?  Chances are, you think of meeting new people. Perhaps a real estate agent or insurance agent you didn’t know before. And you might think of meeting homeowners or property investors.

It is your hope that these new people will need what you have to offer such as carpet cleaning or damage restoration. Or at the very least, you are certainly hopeful that these new people will introduce you to still more new people, and sooner or later somebody will need what you have to offer.

So when you say, “I am going to do some networking,” you are saying, in essence, “I am trying to meet someone new.”

There is nothing inherently flawed with this logic. Most articles and books on the topic of networking focus almost exclusively on the art or science of meeting these new people and making them productive feeders of opportunities.

While not wrong, this logic is shortsighted. What about your neighbors that you may not talk to regularly? What about your high school friend or college roommate? Or the guys at the gym? Focusing exclusively on making new contacts ignores those individuals you already know — a powerful and vital segment of your network.

The truth of the matter is that, whether you are nine, 90, or some point in between, you already know more people now than you will likely meet in the next year.

What is so special about people you already know? Simple. If you already know them, then they presumably know you. And if they know you, it’s not too much of a stretch to assume that they also like and trust you. If you know anything about networking, you know that the trifecta of “know, like, and trust” is what it is all about. These three things make up the very foundation upon which a productive networking relationship is built.

Thus, reconnecting with people you already know can be an effective networking strategy. It can jump start a sputtering network or send a productive network into overdrive.

Consider Theodore Geisel, better known by the pseudonym Dr. Seuss. It was simple reconnecting with an old friend that launched him into becoming one of the most beloved children’s authors of all time.

In the summer of 1936, Seuss decided to get serious about his writing career. He had an interest in doing some lighthearted writing for children, an interest that dated back to his days on the staff of a humor magazine at Dartmouth College. In short order, Seuss easily completed his first book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street. Getting it published was a different matter, however.

Seuss was told that his story was too different as it was not like the Dick and Jane stories for children of the time. He was told that the verses were too difficult for children to read. And most troublesome of all, he was told that his story did not have any sort of moral to help children become better citizens. In all, during the winter of 1936-37, he got 27 rejections.

Upon receiving word of his 27th rejection, Seuss headed home to stage a ceremonial burning of the now tattered manuscript. As he grimly walked along Madison Avenue, he met up with an old friend from Dartmouth, Mike McClintock — someone with whom Seuss shared a mutual “know, like, and trust.”

Seuss glumly shared his woes. McClintock simply smiled. He was not taking delight in his classmate’s failings. Rather, three hours earlier McClintock had become juvenile editor of Vanguard Press. Within 30 minutes, he got Vanguard Press to commit to publish Seuss’ work, which launched the Dr. Seuss legend.

There is certainly enormous power in reconnecting with those we already know. As such, you need to make every effort to reestablish relationships by reconnecting with colleagues on the telephone, via e-mail, or through social media.

You may not become the next favorite children’s bedtime author because of it, but something good will come from the experience. And to think, people told Seuss that Mulberry Street had no sort of moral to help us become better citizens.


Frank Agin is the president and founder of AmSpirit Business Connections and is the author of Foundational Networking. For more information on AmSpirit Business Connections, go to www.amspirit.com or contact Frank at [email protected]