The 12 Habits of Highly Connective People

Anil Dash at Gel 2011 from Gel Conference on Vimeo.

I started the day watching this video from Gel 2011. I love stories like Anil Dash's because I experienced myself the power of networks. Especially after moving continents and starting from zero, alone.

Few things give you more joy than doing a good deed. Often that goodness comes from introducing someone to something or someone else, and that someone else doing the same — and so on. We need to do this, more of it if we're already doing it.

Understanding the importance and power of networks, combined with new tools is our lifeline. We have the ability to transform businesses and institutions, and a need to undertake that transformation. I hope you got goose bumps from the video.

That's what true connections can do.

A couple of months back, I wrote a post about follow through, which is the secret to successful networking. In you're connected, now what? I outlined a few action steps and things to remember. And as Dash says, it really is never too late to start, and it's not just about social networks.

Make it a habit, and you will see how quickly it yields results.

The 12 habits of highly connective people

(1.) believe you can make a difference

in case you were wondering if this is only touchy-feely, look at how Dana White built a UFC empire out of his desire to connect with fans.

(2.) think knowledge as a service

it's an overused expression, it really does apply. We live in a remix culture, where individuals, industries, and media will thrive by allowing the exchange of ideas. That's where new connections are made.

(3.) take risks

they can be small ones. This was one of my points when I talked about passion as well. Creating new habits involves exploring new territory.

(4.) have a point with your view

in other words, put substance behind the approach. Do your homework, be prepared to defend and discuss a topic intelligently and willingly.

(5.) keep your promises

this is valid at individual and organizational level. Coming through, following up helps you maintain integrity of purpose and build credibility.

(6.) say it another way

if at first it doesn't work, assume it's because your question, request, or inquiry were not clear to the recipient. Look for an example, a story, some other way to make it easier to understand.

(7.) show it

whether it's support, empathy, or active listening, actually demonstrating it is a faster route than a few well-practiced words. Non verbals work wonderfully here.

(8.) connect actively

if needs be, do it then and there. Forward the message, make the introduction, help people see what they have in common, draw them together.

(9.) write it down

inevitably, you will get ideas in the course of connecting. Make sure you have a way to capture them – I still do it the 1.0 way, on notepads.

(10.) let them know you thought of them

this is the nice touch that takes very little time. Depending upon your relationship stage and communication channels open, find ways to show you noticed or thought of someone habitually.

(11.) be present to opportunities

really, you don't need to build Rome in a day, as the expression goes. It's sufficient to be willing to see an opportunity when it presents itself.

(12.) think beyond your close circle

now that we're talking more about circles, as many experienced professionals know, it is often the people your contacts know who are most interesting to connections because they are removed from your day to day.


There are many creative ways to connect. As Dash showed, anyone can make a connection with people who have the power to make things happen. That person could very well be you on either side of the connection-making.

Want to increase the odds? Start with developing new habits.


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0 responses to “The 12 Habits of Highly Connective People”

  1. That’s a well thought out post, however, I guess your public expects nothing less from you. I especially liked the second and sixth points; the former because I find most people treat it as a “product”, and the latter because every single day I find people around me going blue in the face trying to get someone else to understand something by repeating it, the exact same way, until cows everywhere have come home.

  2. Thank you for this very special post. The 12 Habits are so true and beautifully dovetail the excellent presentation of Anil Dash. I have shared this link and points widely, and encourage others who care about the art and science of meaningful relationships that support social networks to do so as well.

  3. Funny you should say that, because it was my French teacher back in high school who told us that the fundamental difference between speakers of other languages and the French is that they pride themselves on varying how they express the same idea, exploring the beauty of the language, and expanding the range of expression ever so slightly. Of course she was biased, but the point she made struck a chord with me. Thank you again for another thought-provoking post.

  4. Hi Valeria,
    Great post and a good read for anyone.
    While all the points are worth following, based on my own experience #2, #4, and #10 are crucial in building up the ‘trust’ nodes that will be foundational to your network.
    As to #4, in my view an individual can have a rational & logical view on anything if they just put in little relevant content & let their mind simmer on the topic a little (the power of our mind is often underestimated). Having a view and being not afraid to share it (sometimes you might be wrong but instead of getting defensive, one should use those opportunities for learning) goes a long way in ‘getting connectd’ (this also touches on #1 – believing in yourself).
    I like #2 for obvious reasons. More and more we will be living in a shared world. Folks who get selfish with their knowledge or ‘expertise’ will not be able to sustain their expertise, network or be able to survive. It is about shared knowledge, collective intelligence and the like.
    And lastly, #10 is fundamental psychology. Everyone (me included) likes it when we are acknowledge by our peers, family, friends etc. Showing others that you do have them in your radar keeps up the network stability and in turn helps it grow as they ‘notice’ you.
    Once again, great read.
    Ned (@nedkumar)

  5. There is something about capturing thoughts and ideas in a notebook – “the 1.0 way”. In some ways, it’s more freeing and quicker to sketch and write out ideas. My problem is that I often can’t read my own writing when I go back to look at my notes.
    Great list and I look forward to watching the video when I get home.

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