Posts Tagged ‘cheetah networking’

Cheetah Networking – How to Create Opportunities FAST

Saturday, October 10th, 2009

Michelle LaBrosse, PMP

Leveraging Four Sources of Capital to Create Opportunities With Others

Leveraging Four Sources of Capital to Create Opportunities With Others

I have the good fortune to go to Project Management Institute Meetings all over the world. Like most meetings, people go there to “network.” The intent of networking is to meet people to create possible short or long term business relationships. HOWEVER, what I found at PMI meetings, that this was VERY difficult and time consuming to do. The best networkers were those people who went to most of the meetings and got very involved in the group. While this is a good thing in and of itself – it makes it very hard to do other networking activities so you can meet more people and create more possible business opportunities for each other. It is hard for even the most sociable person to walk up to a stranger and strike up a conversation. Even harder for someone who is more introverted. At the PMI meetings I go to, I see most people just sticking with the few people they may already know and not many venturing out to get to know other people.

About 5 years ago I decided to do something about it. I created a game called Cheetah Networking. It’s oriented around what other people need rather than immediately telling people what it is you can do for them (the standard 30 second elevator pitch we all get down for “networking” events). It is FAR easier to talk about what you need for most folks than to talk about how great they are at this, that, or the other thing. The largest group we did it for was close to 300 people. We’ve also led it for groups as small as 30 people. The basic premise is that you break the large group up into pods of about 32 people. In each pod, there are four groups of 8 people each. In four five minute rounds, you find out what people in your pod “need.” At the end of the four rounds, each of the four groups has a chart by their table that lists what all 32 people of their pod individually need. Each person studies their chart and figures out who they can help based on what they have expressed as their need. They then go find that person in their pod.

Meeting other people’s needs isn’t always about getting business from them – but it can lead to that. What the whole premise is based around is that we all have four sources of capital we can leverage to help each other meet a need or a goal. Those four sources of capital are:

Social Capital – our relationships
Knowledge Capital – our skills and capabilities
Brand Capital – our reputation, credentials
Infrastructure Capital – those things that enable us to do business such as a building, a website, a cell phone, car, etc.

For example, lets say you find out that one of the people in your group (we’ll call her Anne) needs a new roommate – she wants to find female roommate aged 25 – 30, non – smoking with no pets. You met someone in another group who has a daughter (Joan) who is looking for a place to live. Anne has infrastructure capital – a room available. You have social capital – you know this person who has a daughter that fits the bill.  The person you met has “brand capital” – that is a good reputation that you are hoping extends to her daughter Joan.  You connect Anne to Joan.  You have now just created three reciprocal relationships – with Anne, Joan, and Joan’s parent.  And you did this by leveraging three sources of capital – social, infrastructure, and brand.

In Bob Cialdini’s book called  the Psychology of Influence – one of the basic core elements of being human is we like to help others who help us.  That is when we do something helpful for someone, they naturally in turn want to reciprocate.  This is what networking is all about.  So the more people you can help, the more people will be more inclined to help you.  The key is finding out how we can all help each other – and it doesn’t matter in which area that help is in.  The reciprocity rules that we innately live under just don’t keep score like that.  And this is what Cheetah Networking is all about.

Recognizing that we all need to be helping each other create more opportunities, I took a big leap and decided to start doing these for the general public.   We are rolling them out first in California – October 20, 2009 in Culver City from 11;30 – 1:30.   I have folks on board to roll Cheetah Networking events out in Florida and Utah as well.  You can learn more about them at   If you’d like to learn how you can hold your own cheetah networking event – contact me at 888-659-2013.