We all know the cliche: “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” But how do you get to know those people? Here are my five tips to building a great network.
1. Be great at explaining your value
A lot of networking is done through people talking about you and introducing you. The best way to get this done is to make it easy for someone else to communicate who you are and what you do.
If you do a good job of concisely explaining your talent or career, then others feel confident speaking about you and are also able to identify situations where you should be introduced.
People love to connect each other. Just make it easy for them to do so.
2. DON’T go to networking events
Networking events are generally places for people with no connections to meet other people with no connections. Mark Cuban does not go to “networking events.”
Parties, benefits, dinners, etc. are fine, but anything that calls itself a networking event is generally not a good place to build a solid network.
3. Offer something first
Once you initially make a connection with someone, offer them something. Most good connections are used to hearing what they can do for other people, but offer them something in return.
If you are good at marketing, maybe shoot them a decent idea for marketing their company. If you are good at building technology, give them something technological that could really help them.
Once someone sees that you have smart things to say, they are going to want more.
4. Keep in touch
Do not be afraid to stay in touch. Check in through email regularly, follow up about setting that face-to-face, people don’t mind hearing from you.
Be confident that you have something to offer and stay in contact. Most well-connected people are busy, and it is usually helpful if you follow up. Don’t take no response as a sign of a lack of interest; they are probably just swamped.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask
Tell the people around you what you need and what you are looking for. People seem always to be afraid of looking like they are “using” someone or that they shouldn’t ask for help. When was the last time someone asked if you could introduce them to a friend and you were bothered by it?
Always remember, people inherently love to help. Do not be afraid to tell people around you what help you need.
If you want to discuss this further, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.