When we talk about how to build connections and networks, there are three vital concepts:
- You have to give people a reason to want you in their network. Unless you can find a way to help them – that makes sense and is valuable to them – they won’t want you in their network. The aim is to give before you receive. Some networks have mottos like “Givers gain”: This first step is absolutely vital
- People have to know you, and what you’re good at. This is the second most important point in networking theory. It’s not just about going to a conference or network group and meeting and chatting with people, it’s about making sure others know what you are god at. There are some things you need your networking industry colleagues to know about your career: What direction are you heading in? Where would you like to work? What job would you really like to have in a few years?
- Focus. Work out which types or groups of people would be the most valuable for you to network with. Competitors we have already discussed. Who else influences or sells to the people you want to influence? Where do they congregate? How can you help them?
If your networking colleagues in the industry have this information about you, the next time their boss says: “I’m thinking about creating a job here”, they can say: “Bob’s good, he’s been working on a similar issue, he might consider a move” -and you’ve made the first and most important step