If you are familiar with some of my networking principles, you know that I feel strongly that the best time to build your network is when you are able to be a valuable resource for someone else. When you adopt an attitude toward building your network that embraces giving – not getting, you will be shocked by how much you receive in return.
If you have started building a robust network, remember that being attentive, available, thorough and generous will help you reap the benefits of networking when you really need them. Here are a few ways to ensure your network will work for you, and how you can work for your network.
1. Follow through with touch points and regular communication: It’s easy to connect at a conference and collect a bunch of business cards. It’s what you do after the event that really counts. Don’t let those names collect dust in a drawer. Follow through with that event invite or travel tip you promised to send. Reach out to your network and always follow up.
Personal touch points and regular communication creates strong relationships with prospects and customers. Being someone they can count on will make your connections happy to recommend you to their own personal network.
2. Be a helper and a conduit: When you look for ways to help people in your network achieve their goals, they will more than likely help you in return. Ask people what they are most excited about or what they want most out of a particular job, event or situation. How can you help them achieve that objective?
Be the conduit that connects people and open your network to them. There may be individuals within your group that could help each other tremendously. Give them opportunities to meet, connect and contact one another. When you open your door for someone, more times than not, one will open for you.
3. Make it a habit to “wow” someone: This does not have to be an extravagant gesture or gift. The key to making a lasting impression is to listen first, and act second. When you pay attention and remember someone’s experiences, interests, and goals, you will have the material you need to treat each connection in a way that is exceptional to them. Find something personal, and do something memorable.
Have you ever been in line at Starbucks and the person in front of you paid for your drink? That was likely a “wow” moment. I try to do this often when I pick up coffee at my favorite spot in the morning before work. It always makes me feel great to see what a positive impact this small gesture can have on someone. It has also given me the incredible opportunity to meet a lot of new people. Learn how to take introductions to the next level with my “Get Out There and Introduce Yourself” worksheet.
What other methods have you used to ensure your network will work for you?
If you hope to gain much-needed traction at work and in your personal life, or if you face fears in your periods of transition and change, I will show you how to move forward. My book Moving the Needle and the corresponding program, The Winning Game Plan, are focused on modifying behavior to reach, sustain, and surpass your objectives.