“Your network is your net worth.”
– Porter Gale
Having a solid network is like operating a well-oiled machine. It will have all the right parts to work and the oil will keep it running smoothly. However, if the machine is not lubricated it won’t function properly and will eventually rust. Imagine your network as the machine and its health and strength as the oil. No matter what your job is, over the length of your career, your network and its upkeep is going to be your single greatest advantage to succeeding.
How to Build Your Network
Networking is the action of communicating with others and developing relationships. For some people, this might come naturally while for others this might seem like more of a headache. No matter what your take is, networking is a way to enrich your professional life and career… And, it is not as hard as you might think.
Your network starts with the first 5 people you can think of. Yes, even family counts. Now, think of who these individuals might know or interact with. This could mean professors, doctors, colleagues, friends, people from church, etc. Would any of these people add value to your network? If so, it’s time to reach out.
Don’t be shy when reaching out to people you are looking to connect with. Just like making friends, it is important to put yourself out there and also invest time and energy into getting to know the other person. The best ways to connect are through another person or reaching out via email or LinkedIn. After the initial introduction, it’s important to continue the momentum by extending the olive branch to go to lunch, dinner, a sports game, etc.
How to Drive Your Networks Strength
It is suggested to maintain about 60-100 established connections at all times. The number one method for achieving this is to consistently interact with members from your network every day. Coupled with working a job, this can become somewhat tiering if performed at random.
Having a weekly plan of action is a time-saving solution that can assist in the long run. Determining how much effort you can realistically put into your network each week is a great first step. From that, determine a schedule that can coincide with a work-life balance and connect accordingly.
How to Drive Your Networks Health
Building healthy relationships is a give-and-take process. Unhealthy relationships are only take-take or give-give. In turn, someone is not receiving what they need to exist happily in that partnership. Having a network is much the same; But, while exploring or developing connections you might find that you are doing a little more giving than the other person.
When establishing a solid network it’s important to keep making deposits before you make withdrawals. This means before you connect and ask, think about how you can contribute and last. Easy ways to continue expanding your network are to pay it forward by preparing for your networking communities needs and offering solutions. This could simply mean connecting them with the right person and in turn you will be offered the same if you maintain a healthy relationship.
Professional relationships are the foundation of any career. While it might not be at the top of your list today, it could be the first thing you need tomorrow. You will know once you have built a solid, healthy, and strong network that your professional life will become rich with new opportunities and blossoming relationships. By the end, your job won’t be the only one paying you…because it truly pays off to become a professional networker.
Looking for a space to connect with more members of your network? At VEL, we offer dynamic and adaptable ways to gather, work, meet, and unwind. Seat up to six at our collaboration table; Or, connect in the duo pod for a more intimate one-on-one experience. Advance reservations are made seamlessly from our mobile app! Now.. let’s get you networking at twice the speed.