“Networking is one Letter away from Notworking”


Photo Courtesy of Creative Commons

Rob Thompson , Director of Development

At an early stage in my career it was engraved in me the importance of relationships and the value of your network. Not necessarily the amount of people you have in your network digitally or in the real world, rather the quality of people in your network.
If you are curious about people and naturally extroverted it’s much easier for you to build up a network.  For some people it is certainly more of a harder task because it’s not natural and feels forced when you are in a group of people.  You rather stay to yourself and only interact with the people you know. Guess what, even extroverted people have that feeling too.  It’s uncomfortable to start small talk.  But you can overcome that feeling.

Here are some tips on how to build your network.

– Focus on being interesting in that person’s story before you approach them in a group or online
– Find a common connector, where they are from or went to school, favorite team, all these can connect the dots and find commonality.
– Listen and ask them about their life, family, work and they will open up.
– Ask them questions about them. Most people love talking about themselves.

Networking in business and building relationships around you are finding the bright stars and those who have been there and done that in a career or industry you desire. Most people will want to help you if you are willing to provide some value or show appreciation for their help. A handwritten note goes further in them remembering you than an email. The action of opening a card or box of goodies is a memorable experience in the world we live in.
LinkedIn is such a valuable tool to start building that foundation of a business network.  I can’t tell you how many business relationships I have with executive that were started by commenting or liking one of their posts.  Then reaching out asking for a connection.  Then sharing content and watching what they put out there for content and continue to engage.  Helps frame in what is important to them. That usually leads to “Let’s have a quick intro call” without a personal agenda in mind other than what can I do to help them.   Never ask for something the first time you connect, or they accept your LinkedIn connect request.  Say thank you and start building.

Podcasting has been my vehicle to connect and add value.  Find your vehicle to bring value to the relationship.
Some people like to say, “It’s not what you know it’s who you know”.  That’s not true, we all know people, but it doesn’t mean they know us.  Really know us.  It comes down to who knows you!