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Build a Network - Even When You Don't Think You Need One

Identify people you respect

Apart from the networking process, many people who shy away from networking are not trusting the people involved.

The solution is to identify the people you truly respect (maybe by making a list) and build a quality offline network, taking the help of professional networking sites like LinkedIn.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

Build a Network - Even When You Don't Think You Need One

Build a Network - Even When You Don't Think You Need One

https://hbr.org/2020/02/build-a-network-even-when-you-dont-think-you-need-one

hbr.org

5

Key Ideas

Reframing the process

Most professionals know the value of networking, but due to time constraints, family obligations, or being introverts, they aren't able to build a network. 

The 4 strategies for people who have avoided networking in the past, to re-frame the process and enjoy it.

  • Understand networking
  • Identify trustworthy people
  • Recognize the pitfalls of lack of networking
  • Identify the vehicle of networking

Understand what networking is

Some people see networking as some sort of classless transaction.

They need to re-frame this activity as a way to make interesting friends and acquaintances in the long run.

Identify people you respect

Apart from the networking process, many people who shy away from networking are not trusting the people involved.

The solution is to identify the people you truly respect (maybe by making a list) and build a quality offline network, taking the help of professional networking sites like LinkedIn.

Assess your network

Networking can help us in unexpected ways, like peer recommendations, and this may be unclear to us at first.

One should assess their existing network to gauge its strength and take action where there is an opportunity for improvement.

Innovative strategies

There are countless ways and strategies to meet interesting people professionally.

Apart from hosting dinners or coffee outings, try to apply innovative strategies like interviewing people for your podcast or blog, or riding on some key conferences by scheduling your meetings during that period, leveraging from the hype.

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Give Free Talks

If you don't know anyone, a brilliant strategy is to provide free talks and seminars, and in the process build a completely organic list of people who connect with you and know your work.

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  1. Include the right people: anyone who can assist you with a career move
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  4. Give to get - what can you do for your career network
  5. Keep track of your network

    make sure you know who is who, where they work, and how to get in touch.

  6. Network online
  7. Attend networking events.
Be the last to speak

This way, you'll be able to hear your team’s true thoughts, which you can to use to inform the opinion you yourself deliver at the end of the conversation.

As a leader, if you speak f...

Shut down outside distractions

A key part of being a good listener is showing the speaker that he or she has your undivided attention. Close your laptop and put away your phone.

This gives those speakers the confidence to express themselves fully without feeling that they’re imposing on your time.

Mind your body language

7 percent of a message is conveyed through words. Body language plays a major role in how we communicate and how we listen.

When you’re listening, then, be aware of what your body language is saying to the speaker. Unfold your arms and be open to what this person has to say.

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Take chances when meeting new people

When given the chance to meet new people, make sure you do it. As you never know when somebody might prove useful, why not being sociable and trying to broaden as much as possible your circle?

One connection always leads to another

When trying to broaden your social network, say yes to meeting new people. One acquaintance will always lead to another, fact that could only have a positive effect on your professional life.

Weak vs. strong ties when dealing with connections

When trying to get a better or a different job, relying on the so-called 'weak ties'- that is to say, acquaintances and the like, might prove extremely useful. While your strong connections tend to place you in only one field of activity, the weak ones are more objective and could provide you with new possibilities.

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Make friends, not contacts

Friends do business with friends.

By no means is this a suggestion to go be one of those social climbers who pretends to make friends in the name of getting to the top. It's more ab...

Listening

One of the best networking hacks in the world.

People with knowledge tend to hold back what they know under the presumption that you aren't really interested in what they have to say. But if you listen and show not only your interest but your appreciation, they will share. They will share everything they know, and then some. So not only is this a learning opportunity for you, but it becomes one of the fastest ways to make friends and build an incredible network.

Ask for an introduction

Everybody knows someone. If you want to meet someone in particular, ask the people you know if they know anyone who knows the person--and then ask them to make an introduction.

At the end of the day, a warm lead is always better than a cold lead. If you can get in the door with some sort of referral, that will always be better than a cold email or phone call.

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Seth Godin

"Making promises and keeping them is a great way to build a brand."

Seth Godin
Offer proof 

You may excel as a project manager, marketer, scientist or astronaut but would anyone know?

Sharing specific examples of some challenges you’ve faced, and what resulted from your efforts builds your credibility.

Eliminate superlatives
Statements like “successful,” “accomplished,” and, “dedicated,” to name a few, are empty words. Don’t take up precious space or time bandying them about.

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Email updates

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LinkedIn updates

Share updates pretty regularly in order to tell connections what’s on your mind, whether it’s your point of view on some industry news story, or just congratulating a colleague on a business win.

And by putting yourself out there, you’re taking regular small steps that could someday turn into an opportunity to take a bigger one.

Tell people to text you

It allows individuals to get straight to the point, and since many people use texting as a daily form of communication, you’re more likely to get a response.

The trick is to make sure you apply standard business etiquette, such as respecting business hours.

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You can decide to do something without ever getting excited about it

You could choose to do something because it will:

  • Lower your anxiety.
  • Benefit someone who you care about.
  • Lead to financial gain.
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When you have a low drive to move forward:
  • Put a low-frequency activity ahead of a high-frequency activity.
  • Give yourself a standard time and honor it: Block time for important activities.
  • Limit the time commitment: Work for 10 minutes a day on this task and then you can stop if you want to.
  • Set the bar low: Take just one action step a week on this activity.
  • Get ‘er done. If you want to get this entirely off your plate, set  aside a whole day to complete the task.
Practice networking everyday
The key to overcoming your fears about networking is to practice a little bit every day — and to do it when you don’t need specific help.

If you do this when you’re not feeling needy, you wil...

Keeping in loose touch

You pop up now and again to your connections and acquaintances (old and new), without any obligation to follow up or see each other in person.

  • It helps you to connect even with your weak or dormant ties, that will, in turn, be able to help you if you with what opportunities they have. 
  • You can connect via text or email, and you can take the time to compose thoughtful messages without being put on-the-spot.
The effect of loose touch

... is to put you into someone’s consciousness for a few minutes, and vice versa.

In cultivating loose-touch connections, know that your network won’t appear all at once; it takes steady, continuous work.

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Attending conferences
Conferences are overwhelming:  the rush of presentations, conversations, and potential meet-ups, and it can make it tough for you if you want to find focus.

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Change your mindset

See networking from a different perspective: You’re not just networking because you should; you’re doing it because it’s good for your career.

Pre-introduce yourself

Think about the people you would like to get to know and then carve out time to accomplish that goal:

  • A few before the conference, make a 'priority wish list' of people you’d like to meet. 
  • Send those people an email introducing yourself and asking to meet; if possible, get an introduction from a mutual friend or colleague.

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