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Hey!

I’ve got a delicious mug of green tea, iced with a bit of lime squeezed into it and some local honey. You?

Who do you know that… does whatever? How often do you get that question in a week? If you almost never hear it, that’s maybe a sign that you’re not exactly a connector. If you hear it all the time, my guess is that you’re also quite successful. But the work in keeping a community alive is difficult, and a lot of times, we just don’t know what to do.

You might not be a very social person. In fact, you might be shy. And yet, having a network of value is every bit as important. Introverts and extroverts alike need to make connecting a verb. Not networking: connecting.

I want to give you four keys to consider how to nurture your monchu (this is an Okinawan word that means “one family”), no matter where you are in the process.

1. YOUR MONCHU IS A LIVING ASSET

I want to share a pattern that happens in my inbox all the time (by this, I mean almost daily):

*New mail arrives from name I know. “Hi Chris. Long time no chat. Hey, I’m doing this … and I need you to … Can you help? Oh, and how can I help you?”

At this moment, a kind of unspoken “math” happens. Do I really like this person? Is their ask all that difficult? Do I feel like helping yet another person who hasn’t really reached out until this moment where they need something?

And because that’s my thought process, I naturally fear that others are making the same math when I reach out to them cold.

Key #1: Nurture your connections so that you never fall into the “math” problem. Not everyone you’ve ever met, but even a “top 20,” would be good (which I think Michael Port mentions is his ideal number).

2. GIVE GIVE GIVE WITHOUT ANY INTENT OR EXPECTATIONS

I’ve met plenty of “networkers” and very few of them are useful to me. Why? Because most times, they know some people and have contacts for people, but they don’t have the loyalty and trust and respect of those people. The difference, almost always, is the vast chasm between “having someone’s contact info” and “having someone’s success in mind.”

As often as possible, give. As often as possible, give without wondering “what’s in it for me.” (feel like tweeting this?) The more I give of myself freely to people who are givers themselves, the more everything blossoms. (I feel like I’m quoting Bob Burg’s Go-Giver books.)

I sent email to a bunch of friends the other day asking about advice they might have about email marketing. Everyone wrote me back and reasonably quickly and with really useful info. But then, they know that I’ll give when it’s my turn.

Something I’ve come to learn: givers find each other and give to excess. Networkers give to get and wait for expectations and quid pro quo.

Key #2: Giving is the core ingredient to receiving in abundance.

3. ALLOW FOR SERENDIPITY

We tend to cluster. We form tribes and cliques. If you’re in tech, you hang with the tech heads. If you’re in finance, you cluster with those speaking your language. It’s natural. And yet, it means you’ll only hear the inside baseball story. We are forever in jeopardy of clamming up and closing off our walls to the beauty and magic of the wild edges of our world.

I interviewed Adam Woolley the other day for an upcoming episode of my radio show. Adam is trying to keep circus arts alive in America. He trains people in all kinds of things from aerial acrobatics to contortion. There’s no business reason to know Adam. I know him because he’s interesting and passionate. YOU should know circus people. You should know people like Jay Sankey, who teach magic and oddly, what deception can teach us about truth.

Learn how to build your network out to other geographies, other pursuits, and other passions. It always pays off. There’s never a reason not to know people outside of your specific cloister. There are many reasons why it’s vital.

Key #3: Make an extra effort to stay connected to the unique and varied people of this universe. (tweetable)

4. IT STARTS AND ENDS WITH THE LITTLE THINGS

A bunch of days ago, I had the opportunity to travel with my 7 year old son to speak at the Social Fresh conference. Harold is a very bright boy with a fairly decent grasp of social interactions, and he often has something he wants to show you upon meeting him.

I marveled at who took the time to make eye contact with Harold (hi, Clay Hebert and hi Nicole and Cate and many others!), and who chose to engage with him as if he were a contributor, and I also made silent note of those who pretended he was a pet (just a few folks, probably also social uncomfortable).

I also found myself making sure that I gave everyone as much time as I could, because they’d traveled to see me. I made as much time as possible to everyone who came to speak with me. I listened to what anyone wanted to tell me, and mostly acknowledged people’s interest in connecting.

Those are the little things and they matter. Heck, I just got a letter from Tom Martin who has a new book coming out. In it, he talked about his project with Mardi Gras, when he sent me my first ever King cake. Right now, with my eyes closed, I can taste that cake. I can tell you this: I know I’ll be getting one next year come Mardi Gras, even though that project is over, because it’s a little nod to how Tom and I connected (and because I just said it publicly in this letter, thus forcing Tom to do it now). : )

Key #4: Pay attention the little things in your monchu and you’ll have a more powerful group of connections than anyone can even imagine.

DON’T THROW THIS AWAY

Your community, your extended family, the people you can reach out to when you have a question is a huge element of your success. Yes, you have to have your own skills and capabilities, but nobody gets anywhere alone. All the top solo acts you can name have trainers and coaches and supporters and a strong collection of people in their own monchu.

Believe it or not, just by electing to receive this letter, I consider you part of my monchu. I’m lucky to have you in this one family. And the people you’ll meet through your association with me, if I’m lucky, will enrich you all the more.

That’s what matters. That’s why we gather together every Sunday.

Thanks for being part of it.

And if you enjoyed the heck out of this newsletter, are you willing to share that with people?

Please Consider Getting My Newsletter

Here’s exactly what you get when you sign up to my newsletter: I write you a weekly newsletter every Sunday. In it, I’ll tell you a story that will illustrate some point that’s useful to your life, your business, your organization, or maybe all of these. I’ll invite you to participate. I’ll be very personal. My goal is to help you build a strong, sustainable, relationship-minded business.

This letter is written be me, Chris Brogan. If you hit reply, the reply goes to me. I respond as soon as I can. Most people can’t believe how fast, but don’t let me get your hopes up. Sometimes, it takes a few days. But if you hit reply, I’m there.

If I intend to sell you something (and I do that, sometimes), it’ll be very clear. Somewhat comically so.

So join me. I respect your privacy and will honor your trust in us.

Join us for free and get valuable insights that you’ll end up eagerly awaiting. This is a community pretending to be a newsletter. You are why I write it.

Your privacy and email address are safe with us.

And thanks so much for your support.

–Chris…

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  • Gertraud Walters

    Just wondering why no one has commented on this post. Or maybe it’s not a post ? Hmm ! I love “Monchu” sounds and feels really nice. And if that’s all I take away from this post (and it’s not) it’s made my Sunday. How do I get my photo into the box? I’m pretty new to all this. Thank you.

  • Amith Nirgunarthy

    I bet no one is commenting because they all wanted to ask Chris for something. . . ha :) In this spirit of this article I would like to give myself as a resource to Chris.

    Chris,

    I hope all is well. If you ever need any research or number crunching, please feel free to contact me. I would love to help you with anything you are working on, whether it’s a blog post, infograph or detailed analysis.

    Best,
    Amith