Of course you do, everyone does – but will yours actually happen? We all know that most New Year’s resolutions never materialize; change requires taking action. Intentions often get pushed aside when we choose expediency in our lives. So here are some networking strategies to kick off your New Year just right:
1. First and foremost, respect your network.
Since I have been networking for years, and professionally speak on the subject often, I am a target for people who would like to use my network. Many are strangers or mere acquaintances. I have never worked with them, yet they would like me to recommend them professionally on LinkedIn. Others, looking for a new job, will ask me to connect them with a key individual at their target company. I have no problem helping people at all – I just don’t think introducing a stranger is sincere, or what networking is all about. I just delete those who I cannot convert to reason anymore, because they simply will not understand.
2. Complete your networking loop.
Today, there are hundreds of millions of people on various social networking platforms. I often wonder how much real human engagement occurs. I remember a musical group in Toronto called Rough Trade, who had a song called “All Touch But No Contact.” If you connect with someone on LinkedIn, but don’t interact with them after accepting their invitation, are you really connected? Definitely not.
3. Be authentic.
This can also be referred to as being life consistent. Over the last decade, the roller coaster that the economy has been led me to meet some interesting people. Some people have reached out to ask for my help only in times of need. I help them, see them make it, and from thereon out, I hear nothing but silence. Others I have helped are quick to be thankful and appreciative. These are the individuals who leave a better footprint, the ones I will not hesitate to help again as needed. Never underestimate the gift of gratitude – your reputation undeniably continues to gets passed along in networks, and you should always be sure to leave the right mark.
4. Remember: Networking is nuanced.
The art of networking is like dancing the tango – some steps are simple, while others are quite complex. Two dancers paired to form a single, intertwined complex in the ballroom reminds me of an expression I have heard many times in the boardroom: I know that half of my advertising is wasted, I just don’t know which half. The same applies to networking. Which of the people you meet will end up a networking dead-end? Which of them will end up creating wonderful new paths and journeys for you? You will never know unless you put yourself out there.
So here is my prediction for your networking strategy in the New Year:
If you have built your network well, it will provide you with revenue, social currency, human contact, and make your feel connected to life, which isn’t a bad place to be, even if some measures aren’t perfect.
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