Networking is an art very few people master. When done for the right reasons – and in the right way – networking can be the difference between working hard and working smart. There’s an obvious reason the world’s most successful business leaders are also incredible at building relationships. Success in nearly every aspect of their life comes down to their ability to build meaningful relationships – both personal and professional.
So, is your network actually helping the people you connect with–and of course you? If you build your network with the goal of supporting others, you will be far more successful than if your objectives are solely to satisfy your own objectives. As the saying goes,
Networking is not about who you know, but who you help
Here are a few things that definitely work when it comes to building your connections:
- Building a network has to be an ongoing, authentic pursuit. Once you’ve established the need to connect, do so in a timely fashion. This allows you to continue a discussion and building a relationship without a lull
- Understand the space you’re in. Get to know the segment in the industry you are in. You also need to know the players who are in the space you are playing. This will help augment and align your networking efforts.
- Building a network by only including people from your current business focus leaves too many stones unturned, limiting potential opportunities. Savvy leaders reach out to kindred spirits outside their organizations to contribute and multiply their knowledge
- Every time there is a change to your organization, your work status or your contact details, broadcast it. Use these life changes as opportunities to remind your network that you are there
- Volunteering is a great way to build professional relationships while giving back to the community. Find ways to give back to the industry in which you work. Get involved in an industry-related non-profit organization. If there isn’t one in your area, start one, and it will give you an excuse to meet lots of people
- It takes a while to reap the benefits of networking. When first efforts do not bring quick rewards, some may simply conclude that networking isn’t among their talents. Networking is not a talent; It is a skill, one that takes practice
- Finally, a network lives and thrives only when it is used. Happy Networking!!
What are your networking tips? Tell us in the comment section!