A friend of mine hates the word “networking”. And with good cause. Networking has gotten a bad rap over the years as it has changed from making genuine connections with people to collecting business cards. How many times have you been to an event where you’ve meant to follow up with the contacts you met but instead left the business cards in a big pile on your desk? Or worse, you added them on Linkedin and never spoke to them again. (I admit, I’ve definitely done this before)
There are tons of books and speakers out there that will tell you different tips and tactics on how to network effectively. Most of these ideas are based on increasing the size of your network as opposed to the robustness.
I think the idea of networking is really quite simple and can be summed up in these steps:
1) Put yourself out there (Events, random meetings, social media)
2) Find ways to create value for your new contacts
3) Be consistent in staying in touch
4) Clean house regularly ( Review your network of contacts regularly and drop the ones that you haven’t engaged with at all or find a way to add value for them)
I’m going to start by going through the stacks of business card binders on my desk that I haven’t touched in 3 years.