Building your network doesn’t happen in the blink of an eye. It takes time to form relationships, which is a critical part of networking. To build your network means you gain access to new opportunities, get advice from experienced professionals, and even find new clients or customers that are in your wheelhouse.
Many times, the relationships that are formed and maintained through your networking journey can help teach you things you never imagined. This allows your mindset to broaden for a better way of life. Check out these five tips to help you build your network effectively.
#1 Identify your goals and target audience
It’s important to identify your goals and target audience when you’re looking to build your network. Let’s expand on this. When you’re traveling from point A to point B, you have a clear idea of where you are going and why. Keep the same mindset when trying to expand your network.
What do you hope to achieve by building your network? Are you looking for new job opportunities, seeking advice from experts, or looking to expand your business? It’s like clockwork, meaning once you have identified your goals, you can then start identifying your target audience. You will know exactly which speaking engagements you want to attend and which moderators or speakers you’re looking to get face time with to obtain the knowledge in broadening your career.
#2 Attend industry events and conferences
Sure, it can be kind of intimidating showing up to events solo, so to help break any awkwardness you may feel ask a friend to tag along. If you find yourself attending alone – don’t break a sweat, remember you and everyone else is attending for a common objective…networking. Attending industry events and conferences is a great way to meet new people and expand your network.
By you simply showing up, you’re bringing yourself an inch closer to those goals. Look for events that are relevant to your field or industry and attend them regularly. These events provide opportunities to meet people with similar interests, learn about new developments in your field, and gain valuable insights from industry leaders.
When attending events, be sure to introduce yourself to other attendees, participate in group discussions, and exchange business cards. Follow up with the people you meet after the event, either by email or LinkedIn. This will help you maintain the newly built relationship, as well as build your network over time.
#3 Utilize social media
When it comes to social media, we can all agree to disagree that it has its positives and negatives. In this case utilizing your social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook are great tools for building your network.
If you haven’t already created a professional profile on LinkedIn and start connecting with other professionals in your field, let’s get on it! Each social platform serves a unique purpose and LinkedIn is ideal for expanding your network and community. Join groups related to your industry or interests and participate in discussions. This will help you build relationships with other professionals and stay up to date on the latest industry news and trends.
Twitter is another great tool for building your network. We suggest creating two different profiles. One for the use of personal satisfaction and another one solely for professional and business networking. Remember, anything that goes out on the internet could stay there, so be mindful of what you post!
#4 Volunteer for industry-related organizations
Volunteering for industry-related organizations is a great way to build your network while also giving back to your community. When you operate out of a place of professionalism and kindness, others see and appreciate that and are inclined to want to partner with you on future opportunities. Sometimes, these organizations may be at your place of work! So, start by looking at employee networks.
When looking outside of your employer, try to find organizations related to your field or interests and get involved. Stop standing in your own way. Opportunities won’t come to you unless you put yourself out for the world to see and hear you.
This could involve serving on a committee, organizing events, or participating in fundraising activities. It also demonstrates your commitment to your industry and can help you establish yourself as a thoughtful, go-getting leader in your field.
#5 Build relationships, not just contacts
When you build relationships, it becomes a two-sided thing. When they see your name across an email or call, they are inclined to want to speak to you, as opposed to just being another contact. Remember building a strong network is about building relationships, not just collecting contacts. It’s never good to forget people’s faces, job objectives and how you met.
When you meet someone new, take the time to get to know them and their interests. Ask questions and show genuine interest in what they do. Building relationships based on mutual respect and trust is the key to building a strong network. Therefore, when reaching out to people in your network, be sure to personalize your communications. Use their name, reference a previous conversation or meeting, and demonstrate your understanding of their interests or concerns.
Building a strong network is an essential aspect of professional success. Your future self will thank you so much because it will know the impact it had on your professional success.
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