Networking and personal introductions are some of the best methods to not only grow your business, but also reach your personal goals. With a little proactive thought in regard to strategy and research, you may be surprised how many individuals you can become connected with, how much you may have in common and the valuable resources you can provide for one another.
Whether you are just starting out in your career, or reinventing yourself in a new industry, it’s likely you’ve faced the challenge of not knowing where to start. Here is my advice for finding new contacts, researching prospective connections and methods to turn them into a loyal, productive network.
- Look in the mirror: Your alma mater, your gender, your background – there are many networking, social or philanthropic groups that align with your unique identity.
- Choose charity and volunteer efforts strategically: Choose at least one cause to support that will expose you to the potential leads you are looking for.
- Do more with trade organizations and conferences: Don’t just buy a ticket and sit on the sidelines. Lead a planning committee or offer to present. Many conferences are eager for new speakers, or help of any kind.
- Find opportunity is everywhere: How often have you skipped out on an event because you didn’t know anyone in attendance? Instead of passing on your next opportunity, attend and act as if you are the host. Stand near the door, take time to meet people and introduce people to each other. I promise, people will gravitate toward you because they will want to be near the “host.”
- Be social: Social networks like LinkedIn and Twitter are great outlets to connect with individuals that have similar jobs, interests and philanthropic involvement. Using social networks to first connect with others may reduce some of the fear individuals face when trying to connect with someone in person. It’s also a great way to research the interests and background of someone you plan to meet. With the online resources and information available today, it is becoming more unacceptable to place cold calls without having done your research on a prospective connection. It’s amazing how much information you can find online and one tidbit may be the key to you reaching your goal or helping someone else reach theirs.
- Use Contact Organization Apps: There are a few useful apps that help with updating your address book and consolidating contacts. CircleBack even goes so far to remove duplicate entries and repair errors like typos. It can even locate missing contact information or update outdated contacts. Another resource to help keep you organized is ScanBizCards. This app will scan business cards and place the contact information into your address book.
Relationships are the groundwork for success in so many areas of our lives. People connect with and do business with those they like and trust. If you serve as a resource, you will help others succeed and ultimately, develop a strong foundation of reliable individuals who may also help you in the future.
Networking tactics provide the most productive and proficient methods of building relationships. When you continually connect with new people relationships emerge that allow you to leverage your network in ways you may have never imagined.