Networking is one of the most important skills you can develop. When people ask me “Hey Anik, what’s the key to your success?” The simplest answer I give is, “my network.”
Over the years, I’ve been blessed with a network that is filled with positive, successful people. Because of my network, I have a tremendous number of assets at my disposal.
My network can help me out in all kinds of ways. It can open up new business opportunities and support me on ones I’m pursuing right now. It’s also filled with people cool people who can give me emotional support.
More important, my network gives me the opportunity to help other people out. It’s incredibly gratifying to have a bunch of win/win relationships where everybody’s lives are better.
You too can create this kind of network. There’s no superpower that allows me to surround myself with these people. I just followed a set of principles consistently over a long enough period of time.
The most important thing is to go out and meet people. Nowadays, this can be online OR offline.
At a basic level, networking is a numbers game. Therefore, there’s no escaping the fact that you need to go out and meet lots of people.
Most people you meet won’t become a part of your network. However, there will be some people you connect with. When you connect with these people, what should you do?
Here are five things you should do with these people to make them a part of your network.
1. Follow up as quickly as possible.
When you first meet someone and you make a connection, it’s important to follow up as quickly as possible while you are fresh on their minds. It could be as simple as immediately sending over a Facebook friend request or emailing them something related to what you were talking about.
2. Use different means of communication
There are all kinds of ways to connect nowadays. You can call, Facebook message, tweet, email, or, heaven forbid, send over actual mail! Different forms of communication are appropriate for different relationships.
Email and social media make it very easy to communicate with people in a meaningful way without having to pause your life to talk on the phone with someone. This makes it a lot easier to keep in touch with people in your network.
3. Add value with social media
I highly, highly recommend using social media if you are serious about networking. It makes it easier to connect with the people in your network. One thing you need to understand about social media, though, is that they can see what you post on your wall.
Instead of freaking out about this… use it to your advantage! Create a social media presence that expresses your best self. Make it so that when your posts appear on their news feed, they are pleasantly reminded of why the two of you are connected in the first place.
4. Schedule it
Your network is critical to your success. That means maintaining it should be a top priority in your life, which means you should proactively carving time in your schedule to do so.
The last thing you want to do is keep putting off sending an email to an A-Lister over and over again until three months pass and you’ve nipped a solid relationship in the bud.
5. Use common sense
I have to include this because so many people violate it. We all screw up. We say something we regret, we forget to follow through on promises, and maybe we get a little too needy sometimes. That’s just a part of life.
However, apply common sense to your networking so that these kinds of things happen rarely and don’t become a recurring pattern that drives people away from you.
Anik Singal is a Founder and CEO of Lurn, Inc., an e-learning company with a mission to change the world by creating information entrepreneurs worldwide.
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