You can make better connection by doing a better job at connecting individuals in your network.
if you are the person getting the request
Try this: every time someone comes to you with a request or a need for which you don't have immediate bandwidth, help them make their request specific so they can help themselves get connected to a resource who can help them through you.
Often individuals don't know how to make the request in a way that helps them get what they want. Then you can make introductions.
Afraid you're going to have to spend too much time? Invest it instead. Ask back. It will give the requestor more reason to follow up with you on the actions they took because of your advice / introductions and close the loop.
if you are the person making the request
Try this -- define your specific goal and articulate it clearly.
For example, go from "I'd like to pick your brain", which is unfortunately now code for "get free advice" even if you did intend it that way, to (example) "I'm now in charge of xyz project and would like to learn more about abc process. Who do you recommend I talk with / is there a resource I should tap into?"
Here's where the multiplier effect comes in -- go ahead and find a way to help each request made or given move one step closer to its intended destination. Provide two connections back to demonstrate your level of engagement and appreciation.
It doesn't have to be on the spot. It can be in your message to follow up on the action(s) you took from the recommendation. "Thank you for connecting me / recommending abc, and here are two people you should meet because [insert something you learned about them]."
We have all these wonderful tools -- let's use them to help us make better connections by doing a better job at connecting individuals in our network.
PS: this works wonders inside an organization as well. Help your colleagues get what they need to succeed by sharing knowledge and providing support as appropriate. Soon, you will get pulled in exciting projects by virtue of knowing who does what and helping others get what they want.
Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. To book her for a speaking engagement click here.