How To Build Strong Valuable Relationships

by Thomas E. Kenny

Yesterday I had one of many valuable creative chats with Chip Hartman. One of the topics of our conversation was the importance of building relationships in professional network and knowing how to accomplish such. After our discussion I jotted down an outline from which to write an article for ETP.

Although I could not attend the conference call last night I listened to the recording during my morning commute. Rather then wait until I have a polished and perfected article, I took Chip's enthusiasm as a sign that I should distribute what information I do have now even though it's in a raw form.

Much of this focuses on the use of online internet tools but that should not be a substitute for telephone calls nor face to face meetings when the relationship develops to that stage.

Stage 1. Get to know the person you want to develop a relationship with via their work and their interests.
  • Search for their LinkedIn profile but don't ask to connect to them yet as the value of the relationship is not yet known.

  • Search for their Facebook profile but don't ask to be a friend yet.

  • Search for them on twitter and follow them if permission is not required.

  • Find out what publications (magazine, e-newsletters, podcasts) they contribute to or publish and of course read them.

  • Find out what organizations they belong to and consider joining them. Sharing a common interest can provide a common bond in the future.

  • If possible find out what blogs they read and post comments to.

  • Google them to find out more ways to reach them. If they are a publicly known individual setup a Google alert so you'll know when they or their company are in the news.
Stage 2. Provide positive valuable feedback on their work to get on their radar screen.
  • Purchase their product or service and give direct feedback (not only good points but constructive valuable criticisms and ways they can improve/expand).

  • Read and leave valuable comments on their blog if they have one and on blogs you know that they read.

  • Recommend their product/service on LinkedIn.

  • If appropriate (i.e. a book) write a useful and insightful review on and
Stage 3. Create a vehicle for an ongoing direct dialog that is of mutual benefit.
  • Build a relationship with those that connect you to that person if you haven't yet established a direct relationship.

  • Find a way to continually provide value to them on an ongoing basis to keep the relationship alive. For example, provide endorsements and referals for their product/service.

  • Once you have a trusted relationship ask to connect with them on Linkedin, Facebook and Plaxo.

  • Get to know their birthday (if you have not obtained it already via Plaxo) and what holidays they observe so you can contact them on those dates.

  • Get to know more about them such as if they are a Mother, Father, Veteran or other things you may have in common.

  • If they require permission to follow them on twitter this may be the time to ask.

  • Keep an eye on changes to their profiles, Google alerts and such and congratulate them or comment on news regarding them.

  • As the relationship develops occasional phone calls and face to face meetings should occur.
Stage 4. Leverage your relationship.
  • Once you have a lasting trusted relationship you may now ask for a favor or assistance regarding a shared interest.

  • However, of course remember that networking is a two way street. If a favor is asked of you do whatever you can to deliver.

  • Now your strong relationship will reach out so that friends of friends on both sides benefit as the cycle of networking continues like ripples on a pond.
There is a lot here to consider and each item is not always applicable, but I've tried to cover all bases.

Building mutually valuable relationships requires a serious investment of time. However, I'll let you in on a secret. In committing to such you have an advantage since not everybody is willing to make that investment. Those that don't understand the value of networking and who are looking for quick drive by results won't do such. So be smart and successful by using the above road map to achieve your professional goals via building valuable warm trusted relationships!

I've found the ETP Network to be an excellent educational venue and I'm very happy to share what I've learned. The favor I ask of you is to please supply me with feedback. If you've found some thing that worked for you please share so that we can all learn from our mutual experiences. On the other hand if some thing above does not work for you please let us know so that we can determine alternatives as well.

Finally, I have to thank Chip Hartman for being such a great catalyst and mentor regarding my writings. Some times I don't realize the wealth of useful knowledge I've learned via my professional networking and involvement in the ETP Network. So Chip thanks for reminding me and encouraging me to share with the group.

Old Fashion Social Networking Combats Job Loss

Contact: Phyllis Shelton
Public Relations Director



Old Fashion Social Networking Combats Job Loss

Dinner, Business Cards and Idea Exchanges Fortify Careers in Times of Uncertainty

Toms River, NJ — May 21, 2008

Recently, members of Empowering Today's Professionals (ETP) Network had an exclusive opportunity to dine with Jason Alba, author of the best-selling books I'm on LinkedIn - Now What? and I’m on Facebook - Now What? Alba is also the CEO and Founder of, considered by many networking professionals to be the hottest online contact management system on the Internet.

Hosted by the ETP Network, the dinner was held at Mia's Restaurant, 1214 Route 37 East, Toms River, NJ. Although informal, the atmosphere was decidedly electric as ETP Network members exchanged comments and ideas with Alba, drawing on his extensive experience with social networking, relationship science, and publishing. Dinner attendees included a diverse group of business owners, information technology and human resource professionals.

As part of the of the ETP Network’s mission of teaching members to develop trusted relationships, Rod Colón, CEO and Founder of ETP Network, kicked off a lively discussion by posing the question "Jason, how can we help you?" For those who take networking seriously, this is the kind of question that triggers great conversation and this evening turned out to be no exception. For Alba, it was a unique opportunity to view first-hand the leadership machinery of the ETP Network while providing members with some top-notch ideas for future collaborative projects.

"We hear of think tanks in Washington, DC strategizing the world's issues. This dinner was the first think tank session discussing the future of the CEO of ME, Incorporated with networking leaders, led by master networker Jason Alba", said Colón.

When good, solid, reciprocal networking is on full display, humor is generally not far behind. As participants engaged each other on a variety of topics, business cards made their way onto the table, and Alba’s card brought on the guffaws in grand style. His business card caught attendees off-guard when they viewed its reverse side: a pink slip containing the words he uttered to the manager who let him go only a few years earlier: “Thanks for everything. Goodbye.” The implication? You may end up in transition once and awhile, but if you understand and apply sound networking principles, you will not only be in demand again, but may actually find yourself in a better position

Social Networking A Hot Topic

Many networking professionals have begun to associate the name ‘Jason Alba’ with social networking, social networking web sites, and the technology that drives them. As such, Alba is in high demand as a speaker and makes regular contributions to networking communities all over the world in the form of numerous blogs, instructional videos, and what he describes as “CEO Training Webinars.”

"We were inspired by Jason's command of today's relationship-based business tools. He is a man who thinks clearly, organizes impeccably, and listens intently. And I believe he is equally impressed with the ETP Network and its pinpoint focus on keeping individuals accountable for managing all aspects of their career as a business." said Chip Hartman, ETP Network Editor-in-Chief and CEO of, LLC.

"Jason Alba is the creative guru of practical business networking for the real world. His commentary at our dinner meeting was insightful and provided new ideas that we can use now to enrich our networking experience. I appreciated his success stories about networking tools in the public domain, like LinkedIn, Twitter and JibberJobber. Jason, thanks for a fun and informative evening," said Sam Anson, ETP Network member and Business Developer for Technosphere, Inc. located in Bergenfield, NJ.

"I was very charged up after the meeting. This dinner helped me to see an important principle in action which was the power of asking questions. It not only helped to drive the conversation but was a vehicle to clearly understand how you can help others in the group. This dinner really left me wanting more of this type of event. Maybe it was so great because we had powerhouse people that weren't sitting on the side lines" said Thomas E. Kenny, ETP Network Event Leader and software engineer.

ETP Network member and Human Resources Management Consultant, Keith Bogen, commented "Dinner with Jason Alba and the ETP team was networking nirvana! For me who is relatively recent in the game, so to speak, it was tremendous pleasure and honor to sit among the true gurus of professional networking ... what a tremendous evening - thank you to all!"

Jason Alba summed it up well with "Thanks a ton for the awesome opportunity to meet all of you in person and spend the evening with you."

About Empowering Today's Professionals (ETP) Network

The mission of the ETP Network is to provide each member with an empowered career/business plan that leverages a powerful “trusted network.” ETP Network member services provide members with programs tailored to the professional and their ME, Inc. business. Key to a successful career management program is accomplishing the 5 ETP Goals (Ideal Job/Business, Career Backup Plan, Trusted Personal Network, Multiple Sources of Income, Assume Leadership Roles).

About was designed by Jason Alba during his first real job search beginning in January, 2006. After having a successful career in IT and business strategy, Jason found himself in the job market, which was supposedly a "job seeker's market." JibberJobber is a job search tool, a networking tool, but more importantly, a personal relationship manager that allows you to do everything necessary to manage a job search and optimize your network relationships - for the duration of your career!