The future is exciting! And as the saying goes, “the only way to finish, is to start”.
So, start where it makes sense, at home, at work, at the office, with friends and family. Ever heard about that guy who came from nothing and became something? Well, let me tell you that something, he didn’t get there from nothing! Almost everyone who got somewhere got a little nudge from someone, probably through connecting in some way. Whether it be an introduction from a friend, someone in the family pointing them in the direction of someone else, maybe a work colleague introduced them at the Christmas party to the guy who could help bring the idea to life. Somewhere, someone can connect you in the right direction along your journey.
Take a step back and think about it, in 2022 we are all connected in one way or another, aren’t we? You may not have the right connections to the right people to get you where you want to go, but you do have some to start with. So back to my opening line, “the future is exciting”.
Make your intentions clear
People need to know who you are, but also what you do, what you want and what you can offer. I’m not talking about just telling people in the first few seconds of meeting them, this needs to show throughout your communication in general. Through your discussions with people, through your messaging on social media, does it relate to you and your interests? You can put a bit of thought here into what you want to convey to the world and attract the right people into your networking circle.
Online & offline
Online and digital is the future so get amongst it. Have a look or join a group and attend a virtual tour or an event with the latest trends and topics. A Lot of companies are starting to promote and invite people to attend free online discussions and these can often lead to something. A big part of 2022 and beyond, is just being informed.
Offline is still very much alive and at the forefront of networking, and there are multiple trade shows, conferences and events happening no matter the industry. Attending these can only benefit you with the latest information and what’s happening in the industry. Get your dress pants on, do your hair and join the show.
Give & Take
As the old proverb says, “Give and Take is Fair Play”. So don’t be afraid to point someone else in the right direction and help them make a connection. If someone introduced you to the right person don’t you think they’ll remember you? So keep that in mind. It’s not always about just taking but also about giving, and I can imagine introducing someone to who they need can be quite rewarding on its own merit.
Play the long game
A good network is a healthy network, it’s not just a numbers game. I would personally rather have a strong small friendship circle than have a lot of acquaintances. So don’t be afraid to actually form some deep relationships here. I think there’s a misconception that to network means you need to meet a whole bunch of new people daily. I think the point here is to grow a strong network of individuals who provide value in your life and you provide value in theirs. Plus you never know at what time, they or you might be able to help.
Talk with your ears
I can see a frown on your face while reading that. To clarify, being a good listener can go a long way, but in the same breath, don’t be afraid to ask questions. So many people want to talk about themselves and their latest product, service or idea. Sometimes listening first can go a long way. It makes the person talking feel heard and feels like you actually want to form a bond and not just promote yourself. So feel free to ask questions as they talk, you can gain some insight just by doing this. Then when you feel like the time is right, have your say and be heard too. Don’t be scared to ask for help or an introduction to someone else or even some friendly advice. Generally, people want to help each other, we’re all in this together after all.
Lastly, just follow up would you. After meeting new people, just a friendly message saying “hi” and “it was nice to meet you” can go a long way. Remember that feeling you get when someone sends you a message? Feels good right? I bet if something came across your desk about something you spoke about you’d reach out wouldn’t you? So just follow up and at the same time, let them know if the occasion arises where they think that you can help them, you’re there. Keeps you in mind should this occur and vice versa.