Just curious about what kind of "success rate" is normal to expect at the outset when actively building a network, and how to handle "non responders"?

I've been getting my network organised and looking to build connections with a wide range of people - peers, colleagues, more and less senior folks, people outside work, etc.

I'm getting far more organised in approach (terrific), and acquiring some great new contacts (terrific). But I'm also finding many people just don't seem interested (bit discouraging).

I think I'm reasonably aware of when I've goofed or approached someone in a clumsy manner... live and learn.

What I find more difficult is those cases where someone simply ignores messages / invites - which I've now seen happen quite a few times.

For example, I recently attended a course which was virtually an industry-specific opportunity to build connections. I then traveled to a city where 4 of the attendees work, and organised coffee. 1 came along, 1 stood us up, and 2 simply never replied (actually now a repeat behaviour).

With the latter 3 people, I'm not hugely bothered by this, but I feel like the message is "don't network with me, I'm not interested". So I have mentally shelved them as "people I know", vs. people I'm going to have in my network.

I've begun wondering if the above is a pretty normal experience, what kind of "success ratio" might be typical in making connections, and what sort of attitude to take to non-responders.

ie. Do you keep working to stay in touch? Find ways to "give" first, rather than just "keep in touch"? Cease positive efforts but remain receptive if they do resurface? Or just spend your energy somewhere else altogether?

Tim Sanders mentions in [i]Love is the Killer App[/i] that you should only show love to someone when it makes sense to do so... but I'm not really sure how to work out when that is...

Cheers, Chris

ramiska's picture

[quote]Do you keep working to stay in touch? Find ways to "give" first, rather than just "keep in touch"? Cease positive efforts but remain receptive if they do resurface? Or just spend your energy somewhere else altogether?

Keep trying. Many of us are horrible communicators. I admit allowing far too many relationships to slip away.
Keep in touch, leave messages, "give" when you can. You never know when the other may come around. Lastly, NEVER hold grudges regarding thier lack of communciation.

Todd G's picture


Keeping those that are interested in one column and those that are not in another. I agree that continuing to try is worth the effort. It could be they were busy or something came up.

From the sound of it, a couple have been trending this way. I agree with Ramiska, don't hold a grudge, just politely keep your distance from them, especially when they come calling in the future.

Communication is the hardest thing we all have to deal with. We are not good at it, period. Granted there are a few that have the niche', but for most, it is very difficult.


arc1's picture

Thanks for the thoughts, both of you.

I guess when I think about it, until I woke up and realised there was a point to having a network, I would have often seen responding to people as a bit of a chore, too.

Now if only life could be easy...!


PeteDenton's picture

I know this is an old thread I'm resurrecting but having just listened to the Rule of 50 cast on Career Tools I thought it was worth restating the value of a good network.

In 2001 I reached the end of a fixed term contract and was looking for work.  My network enabled me to get some temporary work, albeit less well paid, within a month.  Within 6 months it had turned into a permenant position and 18 months later I was promoted to a new position that was higher than the one I'd left in 2001. 

Then last year I was made aware of a vacancy by someone on my network with a comment of "I saw this and thought of you" - 6 months later I'm in that job and thoroughly enjoying the challenges it's offering.  I have a great team and my colleagues say they can't believe the difference between the team before (who felt rudderless and unsupported) and the team now (Manager Tools works!).  Not only am I being paid more but I'm getting the sort of positive feedback that is good to receive and (most importantly) good to pass on to the team.

Without my network, I'd not have made either of those moves.  It's not difficult to have lunch with someone you get on well with, to send a personal e-mail or to make a phone call but if you do each of those once a week (and remember to read the replies) you soon have a great network of people who will have you fresh in their mind when you need them.