In the last week I have received quite a few questions on how to reconnect with those in your universal network. At this time of year, it is an opportunity to say hello, thank you and touch base with those who are part of the thread of your life in any way.
Research tells us that there are at least two hundred people who could already be a part of your network. This is the time to think about getting reacquainted with them. Networking is about creating and developing opportunities through meeting and “connecting the dots” among the people you know. Look at the following categories and send a note; card; text; email or pick up the phone and say Hello. The last one is so ‘retro’ as someone said to me!
Clients. They are the lifeblood of your business. Build trustworthy and positive relationships.
Centers of Influence (COI) and External Partners. Refer them and stay on their radar screen.
Alumni and Former Classmates. Seize the opportunity to link in and focus on people who you might reconnect with. LinkedIn and Facebook are perfect for this.
Like-minded People. Expand your horizons. Extracurricular activities are people with common interest and ambitions, or who share similar life experiences. For myself, I now have a universe of ballroom dancing friends.
Neighbors. Turn a friendly hello into an invaluable conversation. Get to know your neighbors. You can open up the door for a new opportunity
Friends. Take time to nurture and cultivate your friends. They are most definitely the true life blood of your network. “Network” with them in a positive way, never with expectations. Often they become extremely powerful referral sources.
Family. They can be a great resource for networking opportunities. Think of how you can be helpful to those in your family
People you meet serendipitously. Having a 24/7 awareness for the people you meet in everyday life
Where do you go to meet, connect and develop relationships?
- Social events-we have many parties at this time of year
- Charity and/or Nonprofit that you support- I can think of 5 I’m going to in the next week
- Civic and Community events- being involved with the organization of your choice
- Educational- for me I’m involved with the Lifelong Learning Academy
- Business Associations- Chamber of Commerce; Rotary- two I’m active in
- Centers of Influence or Company Advocates Who Invite You
- Clients Circles
- Where else? Everywhere you look there are opportunities.
Deepen the relationship with those you already know and start the process of becoming a strategic introduction resource for each other. As you get to know each person, you may have a niche where you will introduce one rather than another. Keep track and realize this is a process that takes time. I always keep this question as a must when I am developing a relationship with a possible strategic partner: “How do I know when I am speaking to someone who could use your services?” Again this time of year is a perfect opportunity to start planning for 2018.
Just like what I am learning in my ballroom dancing classes, each step takes lots of practice.