The word “network” has become a bit trite in our culture today. People are always talking about “networking” and it has led to a stigma of insincerity. When people are creating connections with others for the sole purpose of receiving a benefit, networking becomes insincere and a negative practice.
Networking does not have to be like that, though. Instead, connecting with others can provide a tremendous opportunity. Having a larger network, for the right reasons, can help you learn new things, find new jobs and offer a chance to help others.
The benefits of a strong network are numerous. Growing and maintaining a strong network is where the challenge comes, but it is much more a question of persistence and thoughtfulness than of intelligence or skill. Here is how you can grow your network by 1000 percent in the next three months in an effective and sustainable way:
Do it for the right reasons.
There is a compulsion to reach out to people for the sake of reaching out or because we have some sort of warm intro. Just because an alum from your college works at Google, though, is not enough reason to reach out. Instead, ask yourself what you are hoping to get out of a relationship with that particular person. Do you want to actually work at Google? Are you interested in the type of work they do so you can decide if you want to try it?
Secondly, ask yourself what you need to do to accomplish those goals? Do you need to ask them to chat on the phone for 30 minutes or could you just email them with a few bulleted questions?
If you want to connect with someone because you want a job at their company, that is a reasonable reason to reach out. Just be thoughtful about how that person might be able to help you get a job and what you would need to do to elicit that help.
Being deliberate with your outreach will yield more meaningful conversations and it will prevent awkward or nonproductive ones. Plus, it will filter out people who you might not really be interested in getting to know.
Spend time in communities that you would like to be a part of.
To find people that you want to reach out to, try to surround yourself with people who you want to be like or learn from. This could be a physical location, like spending time at hack-a-thons, or it could be digitally, like on crypto news websites. You will empower yourself to find more high-quality individuals to reach out to by being in the communities where you think you will find your people. This could come from people…