Is Your "Net Working"?
Networking is both an art and a science. The art of networking pertains to the methods you use to connect with others while the science of networking relates to the mechanics or tactics you employ and do so. I like to analogize building a network to starting a collection. Just like people often collect (and surround themselves with items that give them pleasure; antiques, coins, watches or baseball cards) building a network surrounds a person with relationships from which they can also derive pleasure and benefits.
That being said, it's one thing to collect relationships as part of building your network, but it's another thing entirely to cultivate those relationships. For a garden to flourish it must be tended by an active gardener, and the same is true of your network. Growing your network is a daily exercise of planting the seeds that will result in new relationships growing over time while weeding out relationships that are stale, dying or have just stopped flourishing. In short, there's a considerable amount of work in growing an effective network! With that in mind, here are a couple of steps you can take that, over time, will result in your developing a flourishing network.
1. Connect with 1 - 3 people per day.
Try to make a new connection each day by adding the individual's name, contact info (email, phone #, employer and job title) into your contacts along with a note to yourself on how you met them and/or who introduced you to them. Make sure you reach out to via LinkedIn as the final step in ensuring that they are appropriately networked with you.
2. Give Back
Start looking for ways you can give back by connecting individuals with other people who they should know. Remember, it's better to give (referrals or assistance) before (or if you never) receive anything in return.
3. Take a personal interest in others.
Ask specifically, "how can I help you?". Make sure you're motives are pure. If they're not and/or you have a hidden agenda, it will become very obvious very quickly.
4. Avoid the quid pro quo.
Simply put, don't keep score. If your motives are pure and you're using your network to help others, more than ample benefits will come your way over time.
In summary, if you'd like to connect and have me help you get your "networking", I'd enjoy hearing from you. Let's set-up a time to chat here.