Building trust takes time and you need to give people reasons to want to help you. Often that means helping them first. However, if you start your networking career with the intention of creating a lot of 'I owe you' relationships, it's unlikely to work for you. If you're speciﬁc about what it is you want to achieve, you can be more intentional and strategic about building your network.
Here are some easy steps to follow to create a reliable and effective network of colleagues, and they might not be what you expect:
Step one: who can you help?
When you are thinking about your networking goals the first important step is to think about who you can help before you look for people who can help you. Think about what and who you know, and how that could benefit other people. At this point, you aren't looking for sales, but genuine opportunities to help.
So, check your contacts list and think about your skills and expertise. Don't only focus on your business contacts; think about your wider personal network as well.
Step two: how can you help?
You might be able to help someone find a job or provide some informal training. Based on your experience you could give some professional advice. If someone is looking for information, you might be able to introduce them to one of your knowledgeable contacts. Don't underestimate your ability to help and support people or how this can build strong relationships.
Step three: follow up
Listen carefully to what people are saying at every event you attend and in every meeting. Take time to ask people if they would like you to take a look at their problem or to introduce them to someone you know. Most importantly, follow up on any offer you make with the promised action and then check to see if it was helpful.
Step four: show appreciation
If you are helpful, people will want to reciprocate. Don't be afraid to ask for help and, when it's freely given, remember to say a big thank you. This is your opportunity to be introduced to someone who can support you or your business or who might want to work with you.
Follow these steps and in time you will gain a reputation for being well-connected, helpful, and professional. These are the best foundations for your growing business network.
Until next time ...
Would you like to know more?
If anything I've written in this blog post resonates with you and you'd like to discover more, it may be a great idea to give me a call on 07733 033659 and let's see how I can help you.
I am committed to communications - personally and professionally. I want to hear what you have to say and to help you to be heard. That's why people tell me their life's story on the bus or train. I love it!
At work, I'm respected as a senior leader, strategist and innovator. I am effective, calm under pressure and confident. I revel in everything from strategic analysis of communications objectives and options to copywriting and the detailed planning and delivery of successful projects and integrated campaigns. I'm very fussy too - about creativity, quality, value and consistency - they all make a difference to results.
At play, I'm learning to paint (slowly) and enjoy cooking, photography, travelling and writing (of course). Most of all, I enjoy learning about all the very special people I meet along the way.
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