Big Ideas ALA President’s Letter

Power of One Networking

“Behind every successful person there are many successful relationships.” – Joe Apfelbaum

The power of one is a concept I hold near and dear to my heart. My power of one principle lies in my belief that all great things start by just one small action. One person stretching out their hand to introduce themselves. One person raising their hand to volunteer. One conversation that spurs action. One interaction that sparks inspiration. 

Sarah Evenson, JD, MBA

The idea that even just one individual, through their actions, can make a significant difference to create positive change can and will change how you interact with people. This principle is particularly important to keep in mind when nurturing and managing your professional network. Having a robust and high-quality network of people you are connected to is critical for professional success. However, meeting someone once and being connected on LinkedIn and linking their posts is not a relationship. While we all lose touch with some people over time, there is never a better time than now to rekindle that old networking relationship with one small action.

Here are a few ideas to get your power of one networking started:

  • Make a lunch date. Kevin Ferrazzi, author of the book Never Eat Alone, says a lunch eaten alone is a missed opportunity to nurture a relationship. Reach out to someone today and make lunch plans for next week. 
  • Send a quick note. Review your LinkedIn contacts and pick three people who have either just got a new job, announced a promotion, received an award or recognition, shared that they are attending an event, or gave a presentation. Then send them a short note to congratulate them, ask how their presentation went or what they learned at the conference they attended. Small actions can go a long way to finesse your networking. 
  • Share something of value. We regularly read articles every day that we find helpful. Find one article this week that you read and share it with one other person who you think would benefit. Then include why you think they might find it helpful and what your top takeaway was.

The power of one is a reminder that even a single contact can make a difference. As many of us come together in Seattle at ALA’s Annual Conference & Expo, I challenge everyone to find a power of one networking opportunity with someone they do not know. Find a first-time attendee and introduce yourself to them. Find someone attending conference on their own and invite them to your group dinner. Introduce yourself to others around you and connect with them after the conference is over. Send a personal welcome email to a new member, invite them to an event and offer to introduce them to others.

As we all know, it is the little things that we do for ourselves and each other that matter the most. Never underestimate the power of your own actions and the positive impact they can have. And never forget, as Bill Nye once said: “everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.”