The value of networking is plain to see. It’s much easier to become successful yourself if you surround yourself with successful people.
However, the benefits of networking are easily wasted as people seek out relationships with purely selfish motives. Below are 3 tips on how to grow your network with mutually beneficial relationships.
Change your mindset
The real aim of networking is to offer help and provide value to other people. It’s easier to build lasting relationships when you help others accomplish their goals, rather than just informing them about yours. Of course, it would be great if they could put in a good word here and there and help you achieve your goals, but asking for favours should only become an option after you have provided something of value to them.
Be discerning with your time
Every now and again, most of us will feel a prang of motivation and go on a networking binge. We set up new social networking accounts, email everyone we can think of and seek out new contacts at events. It’s fine to act on this networking inspiration, but trying to be everywhere at once will result in you being spread far too thin, never-mind also wearing you out. By taking on too much, you’re not going to be able to provide people with the attention they deserve. If you’re at a networking event and constantly on your phone checking LinkedIn, then you’re probably not focused on anyone.
Instead of trying to be everything for everyone, focus on being more things and of greater value to fewer people. Remember that you don’t need to have a relationship with everybody, you just need to have a relationship with the right people. When it comes to the net-worth of your network, certainly quality is more important than quality.
Connect with your current network
We usually think of networking as connecting with new people, but reigniting and strengthening relationships with existing contacts can be just as productive. Look through your contacts and think about the people you already have a relationship with. You already know their skill sets, the problems they face, you may even know the names of their children! Think about the value you could provide to them and the benefits they could provide for you. Having an existing relationship means you’re already one step ahead.
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