Fun Fact: I have worked full time for 3 companies in Nigeria and I have never filled a job application form. How did I do this, you ask? My network.
There’s this saying that we are only three phone calls away from the person we need to reach. I strongly believe this statement and I’ll tell you why.
I once made the acquaintance of someone who attended a fundraising event that former US President Barack Obama chaired, managed to get his contact and stays in touch people on his team. I mean, I know this person was name dropping, but all I heard was I now have a friend that can get me in touch with President Obama.
Most people view networking as social climbing, for god knows what reason, I see it as building a valuable contact list that would come in handy over the course of my life. I’m sharing a few tips on how to network successfully that have worked for me over tips.
Position Yourself As A Person Of Value
People are more inclined to want to connect with you if they see you as a person of substance, whose contact they need. This essentially helps you do half the work because you’ll have people coming to you, hoping to gain from you, as opposed to you reaching out to them. The key is to always communicate what value you offer, simple.
Focus On The Right People
This is an obvious one – when you attend networking events, it’s not a race to see how many people you can give out your business cards to. Rather, surf the room, identify and concentrate on the people that make a real difference, people that are value driven.
Give Before R
When networking, most people expect you ask for help. Instead of the status quo, flip the script, listen intently to your acquaintance, and offer to help them out with something. If you can’t help, just offer support, your new contact will be grateful and return the favour in due time.
Create Win-Win Situations
To reiterate my point above, ensure you are giving to your new contact as much as you are seeking favours from them. Anything else would make you a user, and this ruins long term relationships. It is important that both parties gain equally when networking.
Remember To Keep In Touch
There is honestly no point networking if you don’t keep in touch with your network partner. Most people are not great at keeping in touch, I’m guilty of this as well, I mean, how many people can you keep in touch with? Lotanna of Skills Tribe has an amazing course on how to keep in touch if you are interested. Nonetheless, remember to keep in touch with your contact, contacting them out of the blue when you need favours is a quick way
Use Social Networks
Personally, what I do is add my new contacts on social media – I ask them what social media platform they are most active on and add them up there. If it is a work contact, I add them on LinkedIn, if it is a contact I made at a social event, I add them on Instagram. If they say they are not social media, add them on Whatsapp. Connecting with your new contact on social media will also help you identify who they can introduce you to. Remember to engage with their posts from time to time.