Porter Gale On The Power of Making Connections

All this week, CoxBLUE will be blogging live from Hubspot’s Inbound 13 Conference in Boston.

Porter Gale believes in making connections, in more ways than one.

Gale worked from 2007 to 2011 as the vice president of marketing for Virgin America. During that time, her company helped people all over the country make their flights and get from Point A to Point B.

Meanwhile, Gale also worked on making another kind of connections. She’s a big believer in human interaction. Every day, people are finding new opportunities to make friends and form professional relationships.

“Happiness in life truly comes from connections,” Gale said at the 2013 Inbound Marketing Conference in Boston. “Think about all those spontaneous conversations that people have when they don’t know where they’re going to lead. Some people ask me, ‘How do you start talking to people on planes? I always tell them it’s easy. I say, ‘Hi, my name’s Porter, how are you?'”

Now, thanks to the rise of social media and mobile technology, making connections is even easier. Gale noted that the rise of 24/7 real-time conversations has dramatically changed the way we connect with others, both in business and in our personal lives.

In the old days, we lived by the “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” principle. Within six degrees of separation or fewer, anyone could be connected to anyone. Nowadays, the notion of six degrees is obsolete. Thanks to the multitude of ways people can connect today, no one is more than four degrees of separation away from anyone. With that connection comes a growing “circle of empathy.”

Gale sees plenty of opportunities for people to take advantage of this principle in real life. She gave an example – she once boarded a flight to Budapest, and she used her connections to ask around – was there anyone in Budapest she could have lunch with?

“Within 24 hours, a friend of mine had sent me an email saying, ‘You know what? I know the ambassador. I’ll see if he’ll have lunch with you,'” Gale recalled. “Sure enough, there I was, at the Four Seasons having lunch with the ambassador in Budapest. That would not have happened in the past. That is only happening because of technology.”

Networking for success
The power of connections can easily be applied to professional networking endeavors. In fact, there’s a perfect logical correlation between the ability to make friends and the potential for business success.

“They’ve found that feelings and emotions are actually passed through these networks,” Gale said. “People that have larger, more concrete networks tend to be happier. Tend to be more successful. Gend to get more jobs, more opportunities.”

Gale observed that since technology has changed the way people put their message out there, it’s now easier for everyone to market themselves, not just high-powered CMOs at large corporations. The average person, she noted, has more power than ever to influence connections. Anyone with a computing device or a social media account has the ability to share opinions and use them to form connections with others.

Everyone wants to generate leads and make more sales, and the first step of that process is to reach out to others. In the past, that meant striking up conversations on planes. In the future, it might mean establishing a virtual presence instead.

“Think about the importance of networking tomorrow,” Gale said. “Soon, your information’s going to be much more publicly available. You’ll have an online and an offline brand. Think about it – what is the identity that I want to have in the online world? Who do I want to network with?”