Your network is your net worth whether you choose to believe so or not. When you’re in a rut and need a favour, how many people can you find to help? You’re going to need a helping hand whether it be in the form of opportunities, putting in good words, helping with resources and many other things at some point in your life. The stronger your network is, the more likely you are to receive the kind of help you need at any given moment.
Many people network with the purpose of trying to get any and every contact but that sometimes leads to dead ends. We believe if you do these three things, you will make the most out of networking and surround yourself with a support system that will enable you to thrive.
- Target the people you need
If you find yourself going to every event that you’re invited to and finishing all of your business cards at every event, that may be a sign that you’re networking with zero strategy. Write down the ideal type of people you would like to have in your network and for what purposes. Make an effort to meet those kind of people in the places they tend to be. Don’t be too rigid, leave room for organic connections which may not necessarily seem useful on the onset, but you never know what the future holds.
- Keep regular contact
Can you count how many business cards are floating round in your house, car and wallet? Too many. How many of these people have you actually contacted since you collected their cards? Therein lies the issue. Keep your network alive by regularly contacting your new connects through seasonal messages and phone calls. If you’re at the forefront of their minds, you will most likely be the first person they reach out to when opportunity arises.
- Add value before asking for anything
Networking isn’t a one way street. If you network with the attitude that it is only you who will benefit from the new relationship, then you’re setting yourself up to fail. Nobody is interested in being used, and most people can smell a user from a mile away. Always look at what value you can ad and what you can give before asking for any favors.
The most important tip is be genuine when building a network. There is no better way to grow fruitful relationships than through sincerity and an organic connection. Treat these people as you would your dearest friends and you’re bound to have a powerful network that will take you places.