Updated: Apr 5, 2020
I sometimes joke that Doug Koob, Chief Connections Officer at Circle Alliances, is the most networked person on the planet. But it's not a joke - it's true. And he's built a business on it.
In this week's In My Network interview, Doug shares some best practices to help the rest of us get out of our comfort zone and meet more people.
How and when did we first meet?
We met at the Wallingford Starbucks store in the early 1990s. I was a barista there and you were one of my regular customers. It was a great pleasure serving “Chrissy Parr”!
I love that you created a business that leverages your strength of networking and connecting. What exactly does Circle Alliances do?
Circle Alliances helps entrepreneurs realize their dreams. We do strategic planning and business development for emerging food and beverage concepts.
You once told me that "you can never have too many friends." How has this philosophy impacted your business?
Collect as many great people in life as possible. Hopefully, you’ll get to work with many of them!
A lot of people don't know where and/or how to start when it comes to networking as it can be very overwhelming. What is one small step someone can take to get started?
Put yourself out there. Connect with people in person, via friends, on LinkedIn, etc. The world is much smaller than you think. Focus on connecting the dots which will help you create opportunities for yourself.
How would you recommend one prioritize networking opportunities?
You should develop a professional plan for yourself that allocates your time appropriately with all your personal and professional goals. Prioritize them just like you would key responsibilities for a job but in this case, the job is YOU!
What are some best practices in preparing for networking meetings?
In preparing for networking meetings, send a resume/bio to the individual before your call or meeting along with some goals and objectives for the time together.
Make sure you start off the conversation having them tell you about their own professional journey. Make it as much about them as about you as that is how you will better understand how they might be able to help you in your professional search.
You should never end a networking meeting without ______________________ (fill in the blank).
Never end a networking meeting without saying thank you for their valuable time and without asking them “is there anything that I can do for you?" #gratitude
How do you keep all this networking stuff organized? Don't tell me you use an old fashioned Rolodex :)
It’s all about contacts in my smartphone, LinkedIn connections, folders in my Gmail box and taking great notes!
Time for a rapid fire round just fun and try and answer in one word:
One personal goal for the upcoming year: Balance
Biggest lesson learned last year: Determination
One thing I call you most often for: Networking
Dream vacation: Portugal
Favorite airline and seat on it: Alaska Airlines, seat 3A
What you do to recharge: Explore
Favorite place you've lived: Amsterdam