Today's LinkedIn Nugget

Guest blogger Rob Thomas returns, this time on Networking “Up”!

guest blogBlogmaster’s note: I have never had a guest blogger on here twice, so that tells you where Rob Thomas and I are as colleagues. He is fresh (in a good way), lively, and real. We thrive on the give-and-take, good-natured teasing, and witty wordplay that makes the relationship fun and innovative. This topic is a new one to me and only he can tell it this well. I give you Rob Thomas (cue virtual rousing cheers and applause!)

If you are a business person who needs to cultivate relationships to support your business goals, you not only need to network, you need to network “Up.”

What does that mean? What is networking up? It means you need to engage in networking with other business people who you deem more accomplished or successful than you are. Quite often, this includes people who are doing different things, or doing things differently that you are. Different, of course, means positive influencers.

Networking up is engaging with the people you want to know more about. These are the people who inspire your curiosity about who they are and how they do business. How have they attained the success? What are they doing now to continue to excel? What can you learn from them, perhaps from their mistakes?

In order to grow professionally, you have to grow personally. That often means, that just like when you stepped out of your comfort zones to learn to network, you now have to step up to challenge yourself to engage with those you might have once thought unapproachable.

When you challenge yourself, it sharpens your awareness. When you become more aware, you see new possibilities. When you expand, you gain new networks.  Using LinkedIn as an example.  LinkedIn is a tool.  Networking up with LinkedIn means to stretch out and reach those that you ordinarily wouldn’t have contact with, but you want to learn more and it would be “cool” to have in your network.  But you don’t know them.  So remembering that true “white flame” Networking is about being in a position of strength and using your existing Network to leverage yourself to get to that person.  Find who you already know and use them (with their permission) to leverage yourself to the new contact.  Always using the “Add a note” feature ALWAYS as the introduction.  This accomplished two things:  it allows you to re-engage your existing contact as a check-in; but then using your Network “for good (vs. evil)” to Network-up to that new contact.

You enjoy the relationships you’ve established with your familiar network, and you must remember you have the opportunity, over time, to enjoy the same rapport with a “higher” level of contacts.

Also remember—networking, and especially networking up, is still not a one-way street. You are never just asking, your goal is to bring value to any networking meeting or relationship. Great businesses depend on good relationships, and that is one goal you have in common with the people you want to network “up” with!



Rob Thomas, a master of business development and founder of Networking in Diners and Creator of The Rob Thomas Method, turns the adage “It’s not what you know, but who you know,” into a new and actionable process. Rob teaches and coaches business owners and sales people on how to grow business by identifying and building a network of effective relationships

See his website and his LinkedIn profile



Leave a Reply