Are You a Savvy Networker?
It’s pleasing to hear that many people are now recognizing the importance of building and nurturing their networks not only when actively seeking new job opportunities, but as a long-term and integral career management strategy.
Your contact list (your ‘circle of influence’ as I like to call it) is worth far more than gold and should be treated as such. By nurturing and building these relationships you’ll be able to tap into numerous opportunities about which you may otherwise never have found out.
Adopting an approach of regularly sharing relevant information and supporting your circle of influence should create an environment of reciprocity so that when you need to seek support your contacts will be far more open to supporting you. It’s a win-win situation.
If you’re still unsure of the best way to cultivate your growing circle of influence, below are 5 tips that I recently shared on Twitter on how you can keep in contact with your connections in order to develop in positive and professional relationships.
Tip One: What have you done for your network today? Send someone an article they’d be interested in and that will support them in achieving their goal.
Read a newsletter, article or online report that you know would be of benefit to one (or more) of your connections? Send them a copy of the article to support them in achieving their goal.
You many like to include a short note to demonstrate that you’ve been thinking about them and that you are genuinely interested in seeing them achieve whatever they are working on.
Tip Two: What have you done for your network today? Volunteer to help out at an event. Your contact will be very grateful for the support.
Supporting your contacts by volunteering at their cause or event is a great way to strengthen a relationship. Extending a hand of friendship in any way, large or small, is certainly a wonderful gesture and one I’m sure will be greatly appreciated.
Additional benefits of volunteering include the ongoing expansion and development of your skills and knowledge base, while meeting additional people who can also become part of your network.
Tip Three: What have you done for your network today? Make contact with someone & invite them for a coffee & chat – just because you can.
Life and work often get so busy that we HAVE to make the time to just sit back and ‘smell the roses’.
Similarly, with your circle of influence, the contact you have with them does not necessarily need to be ‘work’ focussed all the time. Inviting someone out to coffee and a chat is a fantastic way to strengthen your relationship without having that corporate-like approach. Remember, people recommend and/or do business with people they know, like and trust. Aim to build relationships that are founded on integrity and trust.
Tip Four: What have you done for your network today? Send a card or tell someone how much you appreciate them for their ongoing support.
Receiving a card, a phone call or note from someone who is showing their appreciation is a gesture that I’m sure all of us appreciate. So why not do the same for people in your network.
Has someone helped you out of a bind; sent you information that has been helpful in your job search/career; or has just been there for you no matter what? Reach out to them today and let them know you are grateful for their help and support.
Tip Five: Building your network? Find out the interests of one of your connections & ask them about this next time you meet.
I’m sure all of you have one activity – a hobby or interest about which you are very passionate. So how impressed would you be if one of your connections asked you how about this and whether you’d had a recent opportunity to immerse yourself in this area? I know I would be!
As the tweet post states, find out about the interests of your connections and make a note of it on your network database so the next time you know that person is going to attend a networking event, you’ll be able to ask them about it. A great icebreaker and a way to build rapport while strengthening your relationship.
So which of the five tips will you be implementing this week? My coach’s challenge for you this fortnight is to pick a minimum of two, and implement these with at least three of your contacts.