5 Reasons to Build your network and Shrink the Universe
Networking is a skill that does not come naturally to everyone; people approach it with a variety of attitudes and notions. Some think of networking as manipulative or too superficial. Others are simply shy. In today’s dynamic universe where it is impossible for an individual to keep up with everything, it is imperative to build your own social network. Building a relationship based on trust and understanding is the cornerstone of developing a roster of valuable contacts who could potentially be your clients, business partners, employers, colleagues and even friends in the future. The strong connections made, can open numerous hidden doors which would not have been possible otherwise.
Top 5 reasons to build your network:
- Cultivate points of contact - If you just launched your start-up, your first and biggest milestone is your first customer; he could be just ‘one person away’. Your level one connection could potentially lead you to the right angel investor or supplier too. If you are looking to do something of out of the box or want to join hands with a local startup that does not visit your campus, then your network is your only way in. A strong network also means easy access to quality co-founders and early employees.Remember, your campus will only give you access to your immediate peers, that too for a limited period of time. Thereafter, you are on your own.
- Step out of your comfort zone - To build your own social network requires you to do things that you might not do instinctively or naturally such as, talk to the person riding in the elevator or strike a conversation with a stranger on the train. Loosen up, open your mind to new ideas and do things that are seemingly out of the ordinary for you. It is good to challenge yourself periodically. You will see a steep upward climb in your personal learning curve that will stay with you forever. You only need to take the first step forward.
- Learn from varied perspectives - Meet different people from various genres to grow your own horizon and further your skill set. You are not a superhuman; you cannot possibly learn everything worth knowing yourself. Harness the power of collective learning. Peer through the lens of other people. People are your best source of information. Be a sponge and absorb.
- Find quick solutions - A recent study mentioned that the 6 degrees of separation have now gone to 5 degrees. You are that much closer to solving a looming problem through a connection. The power of networks allows you to find experts in areas that might not be of your core interest but they might be in the purview of someone you know well. What may be an amateurish skill set for you will be someone else forte. Exercise that option and you will find that the job gets done quicker, more precisely and with increased efficiency leaving you with your optimum solution.
- Hone your human instincts – ‘Follow your instinct’ is phrase no one is alien to. The most basic human instinct is to form bonds whether it is with family or friends. People possess an innate quality to connect with others. This has been proven over civilisations. As emotional creatures we are natually pre-disposed to building bonds. Consent to it. Allow yourself to be swept in a natural tide. Don’t fight it.
Want to know how to build a strong network?
Top 10 tips to enhance your networking skills:
- Join clubs, groups and various associations that spark your interest. Be proactive about contributing to the group.
- Organize Skype, Hangout, Twitter and Facebook meetups to develop personal contacts across geographies – distance is no longer a valid excuse!
- Know what you want from an interaction. Your meeting window could be short – do not allow it to close without getting to the point.
- Learn to listen to people; Do not listen with the intention to reply.
- Rejection is an integral part of the process. Important people are busy – keep trying!
- Networks work both ways. Help. Help. Help. Then Ask.
- Express the real you. Do not project a persona you think the listener might like.
- Attending every socializer or mixer advertised, does not necessarily increase your odds of meeting someone interesting. It is the quality of networking and not the quantity that matters.
- Citing specific examples to describe your qualities and achievements is more effective than mentioning generic qualities in conversations.
- Keep a list of questions and your business cards handy.
I hope you apply my tips to strengthen your networking skills and become a master networker
Step out. Go meet!
The article has been written by Vibha Kagzi.