5 Rules for Efficient Networking
1. Figure out what personal value you carry for the world and potential members of your network.
You should clearly understand what message you are trying to give to the world and how you would like others to speak about you.
People may be telling others that you are reliable, or funny, or efficient when tackling certain problems. Or perhaps they’re saying that you are consistent. There may be many different options; however, if you opt for a certain message, you need to feel comfortable about it.
If you choose «Reliability», you need to make sure to be punctual and stick to your commitments. Plus, your actions must prove that you are consistent and remain true to your word.
It is also important to make sure that you don’t feel any discomfort when choosing a certain image for yourself. You can actually have several messages for different audiences.
But it’s important for them to remain in harmony.
2. Find out who and what you need.
Write down what type of contact network you would like to build and what for. Learn what is important to your target audience, who acts as a networking hub for this network and how many touches you need in order to build relationships with key people in this network.
3. Create an up-to-date contact map.
To manage your contact map, you need to describe the people who have already been included in your network, what they do, what they are interested in, what prior interactions you had with them, and what kind of interactions you would like to have with them in the future.
4. Enhance your social capital.
Keep in mind that networking is based primarily on what you can offer others and not what you can take from them. The more value you give your network, the more reliable it gets and the more you’ll be able to get from the network you’ve already built.
To boost your social capital, you should always strive to learn how you can be of use or please the members of your network. First and foremost, it implies arranging beneficial meetups for the members of your network, tackling their problems, congratulating them on special occasions and holidays, and being attentive to details.
People remember meaningful moments, so try having pleasant experiences with the members of your network.
5. Act consistently but sincerely.
Only consistent actions yield good results. If you wish your contact network to work for you, unlock new possibilities and help develop your business and evolve yourself, you will need to work on building your social capital constantly.
That being said, consistency often dominates sincerity. And without sincerity you won’t be able to build actually meaningful relationships within your network of contacts.
So, make sure to strike the balance between consistent growth of your network and sincere relationships with its members. Sincerity must be your driving force.