Networking is still the best way to wiggle your way into a life-changing opportunity. Are you networking as much as you should? And, more importantly, are you doing it right? Related: The Jimmy Fallon Effect: 10 Qualities Of Great Networkers In order to be an effective networker, you need to build valuable relationships – not only with people in YOUR industry, but also with people in a variety of different industries. Why is super-connecting important? Because, by setting your connections up with other connections, you will build your reputation as a helpful contact who's focused on giving, not just taking. Your network will remember how helpful you were and repay you with introductions back. It's almost like a networking “investment." Want to be a great super-connector? Here are a few tips.
1. Head To A Networking EventWhether you go to an in-person professional event in your area, or you attend a virtual networking event, make an effort to go to events at least a couple of times a month. Even better: mix it up and go to both in-person and virtual networking events so you can meet both local and global people.
2. Offer Instead Of AskInstead of saying, “What can you do for me?" Say, “What can I do for you?" In order to be an invaluable connection, you have to offer value. People will remember your generosity and want to return the favor in the future.
3. Be Generous, But Don't Sell Out Your NetworkYes, you want to be generous with your network, but at the same time, you don't want to offer it just anybody. Your network trusts you to screen connections to make sure they don't waste each other's time. Your recommendations affect your reputation. If you hook people up with too many bad connections, it's going to reflect poorly on you, and others won't trust you as much with their network.
4. Facilitate ConversationWhen you introduce connections with each other, briefly give some background on their goals. Before an introduction, ask yourself the following questions:
- Who is this person?
- What do they want to achieve?
- Why would these two people benefit from each other?
- What are some commonalities between these two connections?
5. Follow UpFollow up with your connections and see how things played out for them. You don't have to send a novel; all you have to do is casually mention the connection in conversation. You could say something like, “Oh, by the way, how did things go with Bob?" Happy networking!
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