You may have set yourself ambitious business goals, but creating genuine connections with people who can help you achieve them takes time. Here are my top 10 tips on how to win the networking race ...
In Aesop's fable, the hare is in a hurry and is confident it will win a race with the tortoise. It stops during the race and falls asleep while the tortoise continues to make steady progress and finally wins.
So, set realistic timescales. Whether you plan to use social media to grow your network or email to build your connections, you will need to share content regularly and consistently to attract the right sort of attention.
Offer valuable information or advice to create interest. In the early days, you will probably be quite informal with the connections you make, before moving on to any professional engagement. It could take months.
In the meantime ... while this is all happening, there are plenty of other things you can do that will help to increase the likelihood of creating connections that will become useful, long-lasting relationships.
Here are my 10 top tips:
- Add your social media links to your email signature or provide a link to a platform like linktr.ee. This will say that you're open to connections and very professional.
- to make good connections if you don't share your most current information.
- Invest in current professional photographs of yourself. Don't be the person with their wedding photo on their business profile or who is still using a photograph from 15 years ago.
- Look for opportunities to contribute as a guest blogger or article contributor. You can establish yourself as a thought leader or expert, strengthen your reputation, and be discovered by more people.
- Create an email list to send seasonal greetings and add a message to say you will be contributing to charity rather than sending cards. Make your email attractive and thoughtful and you will certainly receive some responses.
- Post and share information on LinkedIn that's interesting and relevant to your business. If you found it valuable you might connect with other people with similar interests.
- Connect on LinkedIn with people you meet and remember to write a personal message. Don't be disappointed if they don't respond. If they do accept your invitation keep your initial conversation informal and don't ask for anything too quickly. Most people don't want to feel that they are being sold to or pressured.
- Look at other peoples' connections to find opportunities to broaden your own network.
- Keep your professional memberships and profiles up to date to emphasise your expertise.
- Review and update your out of office message and voicemail recording. Even when you're not at work you can make a good impression. Be sure to follow up any messages.
Making sure that the information you provide at every touchpoint you have with all your existing and potential connections helps to build your reputation and your network over time.
It's well worth investing some effort in these details regularly.