How to Build Stronger Networks: 5 Strategies for Young Leaders
One of your goals this year should be to build stronger networks; and make sure it’s rock-solid. One day you’ll need it, and you’ll be happy it’s there waiting for you. It’s well known that networking is the key to a successful career. You can have the skills and the education, but without the right connections, it will be very difficult to get a job or even build a business.
The best way to build stronger networks is to gain the respect of others. You can practice this on a daily basis at work. Tom Peters
A lot of people have trouble with networking because they are introverted, feel like they are using people and come off as selfish instead of helpful. Scratch that off your thinking. You have to network like a pro. Everybody meets new people. Become friends with them and they begin to walk together. But few network with targeted people of interest.
Get Personal With the People You Know
I am fond of sending direct personal messages to my most influential contacts, especially my LinkedIn connects. This gives me an opportunity to let them know I value and respect what they’ve accomplished and what they are working to accomplish. It’s easy for me to reach out to them because they know how proud I am to have them on my list of connects.
When you’re trying to strengthen your network quickly, it’s easy to copy, paste, and send messages like, “Hey, we should catch up sometime!” or send emails. You have to know that, many of your contacts can view those messages as disingenuous, especially if they know you’re mass-emailing everyone in your contact list. Focus on making each message personal and the responses you will have will wow you.
Use social networks
LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are tools that you can use to connect in a personal way to different people in your industry. On LinkedIn for example, you can get introduced to new contacts through your current connections. You can also use LinkedIn as a professional database to find people who work in your professional at various companies you’re interested in. Leverage social media platforms to build a strong network that will get you desired results.
Clearly, it is important to link up to the influencers in your intended field. But do not underestimate the power of the people outside of your niche. It is important to create a diverse network — diverse people, diverse industries and diverse locations — even though these connections may seem remote to your present career or profession. Diversity can also help when seeking funding for a startup.
Start volunteering. Providing your time and effort to a needy cause is perhaps one of the strongest venues for networking — because you are working side-by-side with people who share your passion for helping others. Find an organization that needs your help (there are many) and start volunteering.
Develop mutual trust
If people trust you, they will work with you. You have to be able to truly offer something of value and expect nothing in return. And you have to invest in relationships and keep in mind that each person and each relationship is different.
P.S: Some people hate it, some people love it, but at least we all agree that networking is one of the most important business skills. And the best business leaders and institutions understand that your network is your net worth, and they do everything they can to invest in their relationships.
I am the Founder and President of Young Leaders Arena. Formerly I was the Chief Editor and program co-ordinator at Walktall. Author of the upcoming Book; Success Recipe: Start up Tool-kit for exceptional business growth. I have written numerous articles on both leadership, business start up, entrepreneurship. I have served as thought leader in many societies and organisations, including the Forum on Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. I obtained my post graduate from the prestigious University of Port Harcourt. I also have a Bachelors from the Delta State University, Abraka. Twitter & Instagram: @Charlessholokwu