Networking Your Network
“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” How many times have you heard that? Most of us believe in its truth, but at the same time, value our knowledge. Well, how often do we think about “what we know” about building the “who we know” circle? Do we think networking, building relationships in the workplace, and finding contacts is natural to those who have it and just lacking for those who don’t? Or do we believe there’s a way to do this well? And that it takes some practice (like most things)?
I tend to belong to the group that believes the latter…I think connecting with others is a skill to acquire. So, how do we do it? Many ways, but I’ll list 3 for starters.
1. Be genuine. Be real. Ask yourself, “Who do I want to know and get connected to?” AND “Why them?” Too many times, people reach out to others simply for their status – we have to assume that people catch onto this, right? I mean, most people are aware of their status, so if that’s our intention, let’s be honest…they know that. (In my opinion, Denny Coates posted a great blog specifically on the value of this step!)
2. Be strategic. Be intentional. Typically, there needs to be a thread of common interest to convince the other party that there’s a reason we’re interested in connecting with them. If we don’t know how to communicate this (because we haven’t thought about the ‘why’), they’ll be just as confused about our reasons when they leave us, as we were when we reached out. And this sort of ambiguity is unlikely to form solid, worthwhile connections.
3. Be aware. Be understanding. To some extent, you want to connect with people that want to connect. For those that claim not to have the time, believe them if they don’t seem to make time for you. Although you can’t expect everyone to be easy to contact, you can, for the most part, expect everyone to give you an ear if they clearly know why you’re there and why you want to talk to them.
Before I go, I’d love to invite you to share your strategies! Do you think you do this well? Share your secrets to networking success below! We’d love to hear from you.