Mention the word networking and everyone has a different idea. Some are nervous about how to build a network. Others feel it will be too much work to ever pay off.
The fact is that most people today find their jobs through their network and its not as difficult to get started and keep your network alive and well.
Whether you know it or not, you already have a network. It is simply taking the community of people you know and working with them in a new way as well as adding new people to your community.
In a community, people help each other out so youre looking for people you can help as well as people who can help you. Working together, everyone can get to where they want to be.
The trick is finding those contacts that will work for and with you.
Once youve identified the people you want in your network (often people who have the same audience but who do different things with that audience), you can begin to network.
You want to let people know what you do without being pushy. You are offering, not forcing. You may start out by mentioning how a connection will benefit both of you and sharing how you might be able to help them.
Some people will want to connect and others may turn you down. Its nothing personal. Its likely that their networking plate is just full, so move on to the next one.
Warm leads are best.
Let friends know that you are looking for people to add to your network and ask them to introduce you to other friends.
Continually build your network even if youre not looking for work right now. Set a goal for yourself to connect with a certain number of new people each week or each month and put it on your calendar so you can keep it as an appointment.
Building your network doesnt need to be difficult. In fact, it can be fun and it will probably grow faster and be more effective if you are having fun with it. It just takes consistency and focus.