Grow Your Network

Grow Your Network

To create your reliable personal networkidentifying the right people and creating a proper list is already some work to do. If you do it properly your list can grow by one person every one or two weeks. Let’s assume you met many people. Your people list is filled with entries. What now? How to grow your network?

  • How to maintain this network?
  • How to care for it?
  • How to stay in touch?
  • When to meet again?

Golden Rule

Susan Chritton, from “Personal Branding For Dummies” writes this:

This is the golden rule in networking: Give more than you get. Some people have the misconception that networking is something you do in order to getsomething. That attitude usually isn’t too successful. A skilled networker givesto her network by sharing information and introducing people to each other.

I see that the same way. You network will only grow, if you share. Share information, propose your support, share contacts.

Regularly I introduce people to each other. I know they work on similar topics and they could benefit from each other. Some people might forget that you connected them. But most people don’t and appreciate it very much.

Meet

I recommend you try to meet the people in your list every three monthmore or less. It is not too long and not too short. At this time people still remember you. If you wait too long to re-connect, it gets more difficult.

The reason is: people forget about you. And you forget about them.

Not, because they didn’t like you. It is simply because they also meet new people all the time. Think of yourself. When you meet somebody how long do you remember him or her? Are you still aware of this person after 6 or more months?

I’m not. Maybe it’s my bad memory. But honestly, I think this is just normal.

How to re-connect?

When I want to meet somebody again, I usually write a mail. Original example:

German:

Hallo …,

Bist du demnächst eventuell mal wieder in …?
Ich bin seit … hier (noch bis …) und arbeite als …. Wir haben uns ja schon eineWeile nicht mehr getroffen, vielleicht ergibt sich ja die Möglichkeit für einMittagessen oder zumindest einen Kaffee. 🙂

VG
Peter

English:

Hello …,

Are you maybe again in … during the next days or weeks?
I’m currently there and I will stay till …. I work on …. We didn’t see each other for some time. Maybe we can go for lunch together or maybe have a coffee? 🙂

Best regards,
Peter

I recently had lunch with this colleague. We exchanged on many interesting points. The relation is now re-connected. The information, about what we do, is now present again.

If I cannot meet with people every three months, I use their birthdays. Every contact network (LinkedIn, Xing, Facebook etc.) reminds you of your contact’s birthdays. Use it. I send greetings to people I didn’t contact for a long time. It re-connects you.

Together with the greetings you can send a short sentence of what you currently do and ask the other person a question. Like: “I hope everything is fine for you?”

People usually reply back. And the conversation can start.

Use your contact list

Before I went to this meeting I recalled the details from our last meeting. During the lunch I asked then specific questions related to what I recalled.

We have had a conversation that both of us really enjoyed.

While I was checking my contact list I recognized another entry. I just entered it two weeks ago. I met this colleague once. I enjoyed the first contact. I knew that he is working on interesting, strategic and future topics. I wanted to know more and I wanted to develop this connection.

I walked by his office regularly to see if he’s there. Three or four times he wasn’t. Finally I met him and said:
“Hi… . Maybe you remember me, we recently met during the … meeting. I just wanted to ask if it is maybe possible to have a short meeting with you. I would like to learn more about the department.”

He said: “Yes, sure. But let’s take some more time and go for lunch.”
“Great.” I replied. “When would be a good date for you?” I asked. He replied with a date. And I made my calendar fit to his proposal. I actually moved another lunch for this one. I really wanted to develop this connection.

We both enjoyed the lunch very much and found many similar topics, professionally and privately. My first impression was right. I identified a colleague that I would enjoy working with.

After the lunch I directly made a memo into my contact list. And I did another thing, which is important to make a difference. I f0llowed up.

Follow-Up

When you say that you are going to send information, do it. Right after you’ve met.

When you say that you would like to meet again because you have some more questions on a certain topic, do it. Immediately organize the next appointment, right after you’ve met.

For my example above, I recommended some books on the topics we spoke about to this colleague. I promised to send the links to the books. I did it. Right after the lunch.

I also discovered an interesting topic where I had some more questions. After we were back from lunch, I checked calendars to find possible slots.

I called him to agree with him on one of the slots.

This is what most people don’t do. They don’t follow-up. But it gets your relation to the next level.

Your new contact recognizes that you do what you say. You take the connection serious.

An interesting article I found aims for the same direction: How to Be Remarkable at Following Up.

Summary

Start your own network today.

Extend your network regularly.

Maintain your network. Stay in touch.

Follow-up.

I hope you enjoyed this little series.

Do these tips work for you? No? Let me know in the comments or by mail. I can help you to establisheasily your first personal network. Today.

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