Think about the last blog post you’ve read about networking.
It probably tells you about using social media, going to networking events, maybe some tricks to get people to remember who you are and how to follow up efficiently.
Now think about how many relationships you’ve actually built that way.
Here’s how you can actually build a strong network:
1. Build something awesome.
Too many people network for the sake of networking. They think that if they get successful/popular people to know who they are, that they will then become successful.
The single best way to network is to start working on something. Yes, you in your dark room by yourself hustling away at building something will result in a much bigger, stronger network than if you went to 50 networking events.
Because people want to get to know people who build things. You will become sought out instead of always doing the seeking. People will have a reason to want to talk to you.
“Popular” people are also much more likely to give you their time if they believe in what you’re doing. If you’re just some random lady asking for coffee for no apparent reason, you’ll never get to know the right people.
Again, by creating something that people become aware of, you become sought out instead of always doing the seeking.
Start writing. Start creating. People will read your stuff. If it’s good and you build credibility, it may even reach the “big shots” you gawked over at the last networking event.
3. Help people, every chance you get.
Give. All the time. And never ask for anything return unless you really have to. Build up that bank of trust.
I keep a spreadsheet of all the amazing people I know who are looking for jobs and all of the amazing jobs I hear about. I love making introductions and helping people find each other. It’s extremely rewarding for me, and people genuinely appreciate it.
I also get on the phone and chat with 2-3 companies every week who have questions about community management. It’s an area that I can bring some insight to in most occasions and I love to do it.
This isn’t a “favor for a favor” thing. It’s being a good person. When you truly help people every chance you get, that reputation will get around and people will be more inclined to help you down the line.
So here’s your summary:
Build something, share your experiences and be a good person.
You’ll have a massive network in no time and you’ll never have to exchange a business card again.