As listeners of the Build Your Dream Network know, I’m challenging you to up your networking game this month. Ok, I want you to do that every month not just in January. The main Build Your Dream Network message is to start now, today. What is one thing you can do today to connect with one person in your network?
The challenge is not just to do it, but to do it daily. After 30 days you should be a long way into creating a habit. A daily, regular, routine habit of reaching out, showing up, and connecting in more meaningful ways (regardless of the platform or format). My strongly held belief is HOW we show up daily has a bigger impart on our relationships, on the strength of our networks, than getting it “right” once. Where in this equation “it” could be a pitch deck or informational interview or resume or attending a meetup.
- Your pitch deck will be reviewed if your network has referred into a venture capitalist.
- You’ll most likely score an informational interview because of a strong, personal recommendation.
- Your resume will move beyond an online hiring portal because of a company connection or again, the strength of a personal reference.
As for that meetup? Could be hit or miss. The miss typically results from showing up with high, unrealistic expectations coupled over eager, “who should I meet” anxiety (leading to transactional conversations).
Relationships take time to build, but you’d know that already if you showed up for your network everyday.
Which brings me back to the 30-day network building challenge. YOU can start this anytime. All I’m pushing you to do is ONE thing each day for ONE person in your network. Schedule a call. Send a text. Sign up for a car pool rather than commuting to work by yourself. Write a thank you note. More ideas are on the podcast (start at 8:38 in the episode) and in an earlier blog post, but just in case you need MORE encouragement to get you off the procrastination couch:
- Swap Skills. Someone in your network may have the skills you need to complete a project or launch a new venture. Can you swap your social marketing skills for their sharp editorial eye to review your resume? Could you swap your cooking skills with a friend whose kitchen you covet? Together you would be a powerhouse hosting duo for an intimate networking dinner. The key is to make the swap win-win for everyone. Check out sites such as Skill Harbor if you can’t find the precise skills you need in your own network. We all have something to offer, so use your skills and forge stronger connections.
- Snail Mail Sunday. Claire Coder founder of Aunt Flow designates Sunday as “snail mail” day. Yes, a day to go old school and send handwritten notes. An old school way of making connections may just be the differentiator for you in a noisy, networking world.
- Walk Your Way To More Connections. Get more exercise and make stronger human connections, heck yes! Suggest a walking meeting instead of the usual team meeting around a boardroom table. Pick up the coffee at Starbucks and keep strolling (rather than struggling to hear what the other person is sharing with you in a crowded coffee shop). Sign up for 99 Walks – for a virtual accountability group to bond with.
- Sign Up For A Hackathon. One day of intense, creative activity will energize your problem-solving skills and connect you into a new community of innovators.
- Participate in a Tweet Chat. When I say participate, I mean participate! Engage with the host of the chat. Introduce yourself. Answer the questions. Share your POV (point of view). #MillennialChat #ConsultantsRead #Twinterview are three tweet chats on my digital networking list.
How are you engaging with your network? What ideas are you executing each day to build stronger connections? Let me know (fire me an email at kelly @ jkellyhoey.co). And be sure to download the 30-days of networking worksheet to keep track of your efforts.