Building a Useable Network
One of the greatest compliments I ever received was that I seemed to have “a guy” for everything. In my past life, I was often “the guy” that people would call when they really needed a ticket to a sold out concert, Broadway show, or sporting event.
Now that I am not as closely tied to the secondary ticketing market, I still have the reputation that my network will come to me in a pinch for a really tough ticket.
Enough about me…how do you build the kind of network where you are the “guy” and where you can engage your network to be or do anything you want.
Here are 3 ways to build a useable network that can help you accomplish anything.
1. Diversity Is Key: Living in DC, people stay in their lanes a lot. Lawyers hang out with lawyers; doctors with doctors; and so on. But one key to having the ability to have a network that can help you achieve anything is diversity. You want a wide scope of contacts as many industries as you can find. This will make your life richer because you are going to talk and hear about all kinds of things. Plus, the more diverse your network, the more likely you will hit upon someone that can help you when you have a big need.
2. Engage: I did a quick Google search of networking and almost everything I read was about best practices in collecting “connections.” That’s totally BS. You don’t collect “connections” or people, you have relationships and the only way you have relationships is to engage. So I want you to start pinging people more regularly. It doesn’t have to be a long-winded, four-page email. A simple: “Hey, I was thinking of you. What’s going on?” is often enough and can sometimes be more powerful.
3. Be A Resource: I do a lot of writing now about leadership and project management. I’m lucky that my work with the Project Management Institute has given me a global audience. And, what I have taken to is writing the chapter presidents of as many local and national chapters as I can, offering myself as a resource. You can do the same thing, put your knowledge and skills to use in service of your friends and network. Send an article to a friend; tell someone about an art show; share a book you really love with a co-worker…whatever small step it is, take it and become a resource and a point of positive interaction for your friends and network. Not only will you be viewed in a more favorable light, but people will begin thinking about you when they encounter things in their lives and you might be on the receiving end of the gift of an opportunity to do something truly awesome!
The key to building a network that enables you to do awesome things isn’t really a secret. The process is really the same as being a really interesting person. You want to find lots of friends from places far and wide; keep in touch; and, help them out when you have the chance.
Next thing you know, you’ll be the person everyone comes to because you have “a guy” for that.
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About Dave Wakeman
Dave Wakeman is a writer, speaker, and consultant. He currently is the principal of the Wakeman Consulting Group…a boutique consulting firm that focuses on working with organizations to achieve greater value from their investments of time and money. Dave is a featured writer for the Project Management Institute and appears monthly on their Voices blog.…