How can you grow your professional network? First, do you think a professional network is important?
Let me reference one of my favorite quotes: your network drives your net worth. Let me repeat that. Your network drives your net worth.
Your network drives your net worth
As you grow in your career, your network is going to drive your career and your compensation. It will open doors to new opportunities and help you to create value for others. Therefore, having an active and healthy professional network is in your best interest.
#1 Build your network before you need it
You should build your network before you need it. For example, if you’re job hunting, that may not be the best time to build your network. You wish you could tap into a network that you built over time.
The best time to build a network was yesterday. The next best time is now. Let’s talk about how can you build your network now so that you can take advantage of your network down the line in your business and your career.
Concept: Automatic network building.
Automatic network building means two things: being genuine and be helpful. In other words, don’t fake yourself, just being a real friend and connect with other people. Being helpful all the time to other people. If you can do that, automatically you will grow your network. People will come to you for help or just to know you and engage with you. Automatic network building is the easiest and most sustainable way to build your network. As you help more people, your network grows.
#2 Over a period of time, perseverance matters more than personality to build a great network
Does personality matter to build your network?” For example, if I’m an extrovert or an introvert or I’m a type, this type, that type, does it matter to build a great network? The answer is no, it does not matter what kind of personality you have to build your network. We are all unique in our own way and we’ve got unique things, unique personalities, unique let’s just say advantages and disadvantages. Use your personality type the way you are, be genuine. Your personality type doesn’t really come in the way of building your network.
Yes, for some extroverts building a network in the initial comes a little bit easy. But over the long run, any person with any kind of personality can build a network.
#3 Go outside of your usual homies
Another tip for building your network getting outside of your normal social circles. Get outside your comfort zone and connect with people outside your immediate circle. That allows you to get a much more diverse set of people in your network and helps you to get to know people from different backgrounds. Great way to build a more diverse and stronger network.
#4 Contribute to your network
A pretty easy and pretty simple way to build your network. Think about what is the gift that you can give others, whether it’s resources, whether it’s … You can offer to introduce someone to that person or whatever help that you can provide to that person without being asked for that help, that’s a great way to becoming a mensch, becoming someone who can really be helpful to others and that’s important.
#5 Leverage social media
As you are building this network I highly encourage you to add people to your LinkedIn. You know, and I’ve mentioned this before, I used to think that social networks are only for people that I know closely and those are the only people that should be my social network. I was wrong. The more people that are in your social network online the better off you are and the better engagement you can drive with your network and your community so every single person that you meet should be in your LinkedIn. In other words, whenever you’re meeting new people make sure you add them to your LinkedIn first and maybe Facebook and other apps later. LinkedIn is super important as you build your professional network.
#6 Community work = great friendships
Another idea about how to build your network for your career or for your business is by doing more social activities. For example, you could volunteer. Volunteering is a great way to connect with people who are on the same wavelength as you. They are there to contribute to the society and the community and that way as you’re volunteering you meet people that are more, I would say, have a similar bend of mind. They may come from different areas but they have something in common to you so volunteering is a great way to do that.
#7 Conferences and networking events
The other one is to attend conferences and networking events. In person. And you can take that to the next level by participating or speaking at one of the networking events. Public speaking is a great way to build your network, that would be another way to get involved and build your network.
#8 Tap into alumni networks
Your school or company alumni could be a *phenomenal* great source of building a network. Don’t skip any opportunity where your old compadres are getting together. It’s a time to explore future opportunities in addition to reminiscing about good old times.
Your college network, which will likely be on your college alumni website or your company’s alumni website, that’s a great way to not only build that initial network but also continue that network almost throughout your entire life. Those are the people that know you personally and will be with you for a long period of time.
#9 Extend your network with referrals
Another one is to ask for referrals from your current network. Let’s say you want to meet a prospective customer or client or just someone that you think should be in your network. Ask for a referral from your current network and create a customized introduction so that you are able to connect to that person and you’re able to, hopefully, give something before being asked and you can actually add that person to your network. That’s a way to get referrals in your network to work for you.
#10 Activating and nurturing your network
Even a small but active network is 10x more valuable than a large but inactive network.
Here are some ways to activate and nurture your network
- Social apps
- Good old catch up in-person
Another way to keep your network always active is to share send information or send things of value. It’s Karma: the more you can share and contribute, the more you will get in return from your network. It could be as simple as articles and updates. Or holiday cards and the occasional bottle of wine.
There you have it: ten easy ways of building a great network. Use them on a daily and weekly basis. Combine this work with a healthy dose of patience, your network will start driving your net worth higher.