PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) consultant, founder of Dynamic Paddlers, Connection U Meetup co-founder: this is Larry Gioia, but to a CEO, small business owner, everyday citizen — this may not mean much. Minimalist business cards, firm handshakes…what does it mean when you walk away? Name the last person you shook hands with. Look for the last card you were handed. Can you remember? Can you find it? The answer is likely no.
Larry Gioia is reinventing the way we introduce ourselves. No more serious interactions. He emphasizes that “we’re not in suits. We’re not exchanging business cards.” We’re business people. Employees. Entrepreneurs with seven-day-a-week schedules. There’s so little time to solidify a meaningful relationship with potential colleagues and creative partners. A business card does the trick, doesn’t it? Gioia thinks otherwise, because it’s about connecting with one another, not networking, because “networking is not working.”
He stresses the importance of making time to listen to others, to hear their story. In three simple steps, Gioia reveals his strategy to make strong connections:
- Open your aperture. Widen your lens. “Think different,” he says, so that you can “go deeper today” and make new discoveries about the person you’re talking with. Who knows what the connection will bring?
- Find your tribe. “Who are the people you can count on?” A support system will surround you in an environment that cradles your creativity.
- Give yourself. “All of yourself. Your heart, your head…give it away and expect nothing in return.” Meet people without any intentions to foster a meaningful, human relationship. Gioia sends an email or text everyday to let someone know that he’s thankful for their existence and what they bring to the table.
His live-or-die-by motto is “ABCD” — Always Be Connecting the Dots. Being a connector means establishing valuable relationships that provide a landing ground for mutual creativity between two people, even a group. Find that person. Find that group. In the web of networking, your line will be lost, stuck in the tangle of the hundreds of other entrepreneurs a single person has met. Be a connector and you’ll never be forgotten.
Written by Callie DeMasters
Want to attend the next Going Deep Summit?