The Reality of building a network
Something I get asked about quite often is how I manage and grow my network, across LinkedIn and other platforms. As somewhat of an introvert, it does seem odd that I would have such a flourishing professional network. Truthfully, it has taken many years of growth and figuring out what works for me.
I have spent several years connecting with others on LinkedIn, facilitating connections between others, and working for several companies that allowed me to meet many new people. Luckily for you, I have distilled all of that networking experience into 3 easy steps that you can implement today.
The 3 Steps to improve your network
- Schedule small chunks of time.
According to my Myers-Briggs assessment, I am an ambivert that leans toward introversion. I very much enjoy being around people, but too much social exposure can be tiring for me. Sometimes I may need a day alone to recharge after lots of socializing. If you find yourself in a similar position, try scheduling out small amounts of time to focus on networking. This way, you are setting aside time to be intentional about growing your network, but it’s less likely to be overwhelming.
- Connect your connections.
Remember that your network does not just exist for your benefit. As a member of growing networks, your connections should also benefit from being connected to you. The best way to do this is facilitating connections among your peers.
I once connected with a woman named Kate in the nonprofit field whose focus was connecting college students to internships. It just so happens that I am connected with multiple people in related fields: a colleague named Liz who wants to help connect students and internships in California, Amy in New Jersey who runs a program preparing college students for new opportunities, and Kathy in Michigan whose focus is finding internships for computer science and engineering students. So, I started a conversation with these women from all over the country, and now they have the opportunity to work together and support each other in their work.
- Make networking work for you.
The process of networking will look a little different for everyone. Not every piece of networking advice will fit your needs and situation, and you shouldn’t be dreading the process of connecting with others. Make networking work for you. Schedule a few minutes to check in with colleagues each day, set a goal to gain one new connection each week. Focus on the things you enjoy about networking, because those are the things that will help you grow the most.
The benefits of networking
Here’s a quote from Michele Jenae that I agree with whole-heartedly: “Networking is not about just connecting people. It’s about connecting people with people, people with ideas, and people with opportunities.” How are you making those connections each day? How do you plan to make them in the future?
If you have any trouble growing your network on LinkedIn and beyond, feel free to reach out at talentactivators.com.
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