Your professional network is where opportunities lie. And that won’t happen by just relying on your current circle and those you already know.
We wrongly assume that our friends can help us exceed, and be there where we need them. But the real magic happens when we get out of that zone of comfort, and either reach out to old friends, or put ourselves in a new environment and approach the people there.
Networking is about authenticity, information sharing and collaboration, where everyone involved achieves their goal. That’s why to grow your business network you’ll need to rely on referrals, testimonials, online reputation, your own social skills, and joining all industry events you can. We know this, but rarely set the actual goal of expanding our professional network. We usually keep doing the same old stuff, and expect to be known more, to grow a business, to find partners and career opportunities, etc.
So instead of leaving this to chance, let’s decide to grow our business network in as little as 10 days. That’s absolutely possible and David Burkus, who’s hosting the Super Connector Summit in the end of October, came up with a free eBook on this.
Download 10 Days to a Better Network for Free.
In it he shares this smart and easy approach to growing a network. It’s a weekly routine that is expanded later in the workbook.
- List out 6-10 work colleagues with whom you used to have a strong relationship but have since fallen by the wayside—at a minimum, with whom you haven’t had an in depth conversation in two years.
- Randomly select one person from the list. Roll a dice or flip a coin if you have to, then email or call with an invitation to chat in person or via phone call.
- Don’t set an agenda. Don’t say you are looking for something specific. Just say you would like to reconnect. In the process of a free flowing conversation, however, you are likely to talk about work matters, problems, opportunities, etc. Make a note of these and follow up anywhere you can help or might need help.
Here are some powerful tips you can find in it, and which will be presented by 50+ world experts on October 30th when the Super Connector Summit is live. You can also grab free access for the event right now.
How to Build a Professional Network in The Next 10 Days
1. See the bigger picture.
It’s easy to just say you have enough connections. Or just the opposite, to use the excuse that you can’t seem to be forming any new relationships with people, that might lead to something bigger, even if you’re trying hard. But are you looking at the big picture?
Forget about who’s around you right now. This is bigger than your current circle. Think about all the people from your past that you might have underestimated. Look at it from a new angle. They now know new people and have their own professional networks, so your opportunity might be hiding somewhere in their new social life. What’s more, they learned and experienced a lot, and this is valuable.
There’s a ton of potential to grow your network if you start reaching out to old friends and acquaintances and seeing what can come out of this. After all, it’s true that opportunities come through people.
2. Research your options today.
Okay, what usually comes to mind first is searching former colleagues on LinkedIn, and looking up alumni networks. Also seek any activity going on online from previous organizations you’ve worked for, to see how the people there have been doing ever since.
If you can’t find any active networks from uni that seem promising, then David Burkus suggests you create one yourself.
Do that by writing down a list of former coworkers you’d like to reconnect with (such a worksheet is provided in the free ebook). Then continue with inviting them to catch up, be it face to face or through a call.
3. Think about the most influential people you’ve had the chance to meet.
While enhancing your professional network will surely happen if you go to events and introduce yourself to influencers in your niche, there’s also another direction your can look at – back at whom you’ve already had contact with, even if it was once.
Again in the book 10 Days to a Better Network, David provides a cheat sheet with 3 columns, that help you outline who’s influenced your career positively so far.
There you’re prompted to think about 10-25 names who’ve been helpful to you somehow, be it with mentioning a job offer, giving guidance, or else.
Next to each, you should try to remember and write down who introduced you to that person. You can also add the people you’ve introduced the influencers too.
Now, the main purpose of this exercise is to help you notice recurring names.
You might see some people were actually more important to how your career has been going on since then, and it’s worth reconnecting. While it’s possible to realize you yourself aren’t a good connector because the third column is mostly blank spaces.
Last but not least, you can see opportunities for introducing 2 people you know to each other and making it beneficial to anyone involved. After all, networking is also about giving, not just receiving.
That’s just the beginning of the growth of your professional network. It all begins by taking this aspect of your business, or career as an employee, more seriously. Then, analyzing where you might already be missing out on opportunities. And, of course, doing a little something every day to connect with people and build a strong network.
To learn more practical exercises like these, grab a free copy of 10 Days to a Better Network. In it you’ll find 10 evidence-backed tactics to expand your circle.
The Super Connector Summit kicks off on Monday, October 30. So grab a free seat now. And when you do, you’ll also download David’s powerful new ebook.