All of us have that one networker friend that is always on the go, meeting new people, adding to his connections, and exchanging inspiration with others. Although we may sometimes find them annoying, the lifestyle they lead stems from a winning mentality. We want you to put more effort into networking, but we also do not want to make it a feel stressful. Therefore, here are three tips that you can start implementing to expand your network stress-free and steadily.
1. Quit Avoiding High School Reunions
Contrary to what most people believe, networking is not reaching out to total strangers and hoping they will respond. That means a good place to start is reaching out to old friends that you have not been in touch with for a while. Learning where both of you ended up will provide you with the information and opportunities that you are looking for. Typically, this won’t be as hard as dealing with total strangers because of the already existing relation. When was the last time you hung out with your high school friends or agreed to attend an organized reunion? Quit coming up with excuses and step your game up!
2. Turn Your Work Friends Into “Real” Friends
Do not let all your co-workers remain acquaintances; push yourself to include them as real friends. Try learning about their non-work related interests, and if you relate, use that as a starting point. Then, as you learn more about them you are more likely to become better connected, faster. As you develop your work relationship into a friendship, you will be able to exchange tips and opportunities with each other that may lead to big career boosts!
3. Networking Through Friends of Friends
There are times where you just have to step outside of your circle for greater access to beneficial opportunities. One of the easiest ways to achieve that is go through your own circle at first. Ask your friends, “Who do you know in the field of (whatever it is that you are interested in)?” and ask if your friends if they’d be willing to connect you to them. Sometimes your new acquaintance will also be able to direct you in another direction if they are unable to help. If that happens, you have just added at least 2 new connection to your network! This can also work online if you are in lockdown (thanks to COVID-19) or if you live in different cities. LinkedIn is one of the great free resources to expand your network this way!
With these three tips, you’ll be on the right path to expand your connections. Be on the lookout for great opportunities to enhance your career through networking. Remember, it does not have to feel awkward; it is all about understanding the environment around you and acting accordingly.