Your network is one of the most important assets you have in your career. The question is how can you fit networking activities into your already overstretched day?
I grappled with this for years and most of the time I failed. Chalk it up to being too good at putting my head down and doing my job.
At the time I didn’t realize that not only was I hurting my career, I was also hurting my ability to deliver results for the firm at the next level.
For example, bringing in new clients happens when someone in your network introduces you to someone in their network and the six degrees of separation works for you. Also, to think strategically and get new ideas requires new and different kinds of input, ideally from people with a different perspective than your own.
These things don’t happen when you’re sitting at your desk completing tasks.
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After years of trial and error, I’ve discovered some strategies that are practical and doable (even for a recovering workaholic and perfectionist like me).
Since I don’t want to overwhelm you with all the strategies at once, I’ll share the one that’s generated the most “quick wins” for me. Plus, three examples of how to effectively put this strategy into action.
My favorite strategy for building my network is to capitalize on everyday opportunities. I know, it sounds deceptively simple. But most strategies that deliver results are simple.
That’s because if it’s simple, you have the best chance of actually doing it. And taking action is the single most important ingredient for success, especially when it comes to building your all-important asset: your network.
Every day, you have opportunities to connect with people, many of whom could become valuable members of your community of support. That is, they could be your future sponsors, mentors, peer coaches, connectors or raving fans.
You don’t want to overlook these golden opportunities to connect with people you already know in a way that serves our career goals.
So here are three ways to capitalize on the everyday opportunities.
The first way is to create what I call a “Dance Card” for each person you need to impress or build a better relationship with.
The Dance Card is where you jot down key information ahead of time, such as who the person is that you need to talk to and the two to three main points that you want to convey to them or ask them about.
- Tingler took note of recent improvement in the bullpen: “The last few days are exactly what you hope for. At the beginning of camp, guys working on things and