Building a strong professional network : one superconnect at a time
Written by Helené van Tonder, a leap.club member.
Written by Helené van Tonder
For the longest time, I thought about networking as something you’re supposed to do at conferences during coffee breaks. That’s an activity I’m very bad at. It mostly ends up being fruitless for me, and it’s something I don’t enjoy at all.
My very first superconnect on leap.club changed all of that. I joined the community in November 2020 and received my first superconnect in the second week — after making a post on the feed. At that stage, I was still feeling a little shy and unsure of how to use the platform. I was beyond myself with excitement when I received that first request! I ran to the kitchen where my husband was, shouting and waving my phone in his face: “Someone wants to connect with me, someone wants to connect with me!” (This is really true.)
That first superconnect ended in an hour-long video chat with (the wonderful) Monica Kamath — someone who many of you might have encountered on leap. Since then, I’ve met many other incredible people and had numerous interesting, funny, and inspiring conversations. I discovered that networking can be something totally different than an awkward conference coffee break, and that it’s something I truly enjoy and often find very meaningful!
Why I love superconnects
In my experience, superconnects and how they work on the leap platform are a game-changer when it comes to networking. Here’s why I love it:
Conversations have prior context, and I can take an active step towards creating that context. I love the fact that I can read member profiles to learn more about someone, or read posts on the feed to discover people who have interests or questions similar to mine. This allows me to reach out to someone knowing something about them already, AND tell them why I’d like to chat with them and what about.
There’s an easy (and standardised) way for someone to let me know if they’re not interested in chatting with me. Sure, it might suck a little if someone doesn’t accept your superconnect, but the flip side is just great: by the time I’m having a conversation with someone, I’m sure that they too want to be having this conversation. That helps me a lot! I feel way more relaxed and confident by the time the actual conversation happens.
I can set the expectation for the conversation upfront. Someone knows whether I’ve asked them for a 15-minute chat or a 30-minute one, for example, or whether it’s going to be with or without video, etc. That’s super liberating for me!
Making the most of your 3 superconnects each month
Most of us that are part of leap.club want to network and upskill and make the most of our membership. But despite our best intentions, work and kids and global pandemics tend to get in the way. I’ve spoken to loads of leap ladies, and this is the common theme: “I’ve been so busy, I’m just not getting to it.” Unfortunately, that’s not going to change, so we’ll have to find ways to build our networks even when we have very little time.
I recently started boxing time for sending superconnects. I decided that I want to add 2–3 solid connections to my network every month. (By the way, I’m starting to think this is somewhat ambitious. Even just adding 1 solid connection a month every month would be a great achievement and something that compounds. Imagine meeting 12 great people in 2021! Even if just 3 of them end up becoming part of your inner circle, that’s huge.)
Now I spend 15–30 minutes every Saturday to send some superconnects. During the week, I star members whose profiles I like, and then I go through them on a Saturday and decide who I’ll reach out to. Initially, it took me some time to craft a message I felt confident about, but this is getting easier over time.
I always reach out to others intending to schedule a video call with them. So I make that clear in my message to them, and also check my calendar beforehand to know my availability in the upcoming week or two.
In other words, for me, superconnecting is always an actual conversation with the person. Sending the superconnect only serves as a way to schedule the call. The connecting happens once we’re on the call.
How are you using superconnects?
I love the idea that we’re a community who all care about making the most of leap.club as a platform. There are loads of wisdom and skills among us, and learning how to connect is the first step towards leveraging that.
I’m very keen to learn how others are using superconnects. If you have ideas and tips to share, reach out to me on leap.club. 😁 I’ll schedule a call with you, and make sure your ideas get added to the knowledge-base.