If growing your network is the goal, it probably means changing some of the ways you have been going about it. We all fall into habits and also make assumptions that people who know us will also be the best resources. In fact, our closest contacts likely know the same people and information that we do. According to author, Laura Sinberg, “By neglecting our weaker connections, we may be missing out on job leads and good advice. Executives who sought guidance on a project from distant ties received more valuable solutions and referrals than they did from close friends and colleagues.” People we know have an image of us and the potential usefulness of a connection that may not always lead to introductions.
Reach out to a friend you may have lost touch with. It’s a good opportunity to get current and perhaps be of assistance to that person. Refreshing an old relationship is far easier that starting anew with a stranger.
Use technology to expand your networks. Ms. Sinberg suggests using multiple resources for peer to peer information like trendr.com, an iPhone and Android app to connect your LinkedIn account with GPS. This allows you to see professionals of similar seniority who are nearby and open to meeting. If that feels uncomfortable, work on your LinkedIn connections 15-minutes daily to get started. Always personalize your invitations.
Attend events where your peers are unlikely to be. If you’re in healthcare, attend a program for financial executives. You will may learn something new and meet people beyond your typical network. Be prepared with a “commercial” about why you are there. Something short with a twist is memorable as well as demonstrating an interest in seeing how financials is a good for healthcare.
Volunteer within your company and beyond. Be curious. Exposure to different people will move you out of your familiar network and on to connecting with new faces and places with potential