Networking: Two ways to make it easy and some magic words
Spending precious time investing in your network can seem like a drag until you are in trouble and really need help. By then, it is something that you can regret not having done in good time. As Harvey Mackay said: ‘Dig you well before you are thirsty’. Here are two ways to integrate networking into your working day, knowing that little and often will compound up and you will have a healthy, relevant professional network with a high level of social capital.
Reaching Out: Systematically. Have a list of people who are in your network and decide how often you want to reach out to them. This may be each month, once a quarter, twice a year or just once a year. Not surprisingly, there are apps for this which enable you to drop names from your list into buckets and you will then be given a call list each week. This might be worth exploring. Organising yourself in this way will ensure that everyone is contacted at the right level of frequency depending on the nature of your relationship. You will have perhaps two or three people to message each day and it will not be time consuming or onerous. It also enables you to be genuine, authentic and organised.
Reaching Out: Event Driven. In addition, you can contact people in your network prompted by developments or events in their lives. It may be that you read that their firm is involved in a merger, or you are planning on attending an alumni event and you want to ensure that they got the invitation as well. LinkedIn can also be useful because Notifications will often let you know about work anniversaries, new jobs, promotions and birthdays. These events provide you with an opportunity to sincerely wish people well - there is nothing phoney or fake about reaching out in this way.
Finally, there are ways of approaching networking and messaging that make it clear that you are sincere and not expecting anything in return. Ideally, we want the message to evoke positive feelings: it has to be genuine and heartfelt - and absolutely not self-serving. You do not want people in your network to feel that they have to engage or indeed, do anything laborious in an already busy day. That is why the words: ‘No response necessary’ are so powerful. The recipient of your message is not ‘on the hook’. There is no need to reciprocate and they also hopefully just feel good that you thought of them and took the time and effort to send your good wishes.
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