Networking has taken on a whole new meaning in the Internet age. Keeping up with the competition demands cultivating contacts at warp speed, and that means working your shtick online.
Online – LinkedIn
I believe it is important to focus on your first- and second-degree connections. First-degree connections are contacts that have already accepted your invitation to join your network, or vice versa, and second-degree connections are contacts known to your first-degree connection. Third-degree connections require more than one introduction and can be difficult to reach, as you may not have a mutual acquaintance.
When I ask someone in my network for an introduction, I try to make it easy for my first-degree contact by mentioning how I’d like to be introduced and the reasons I need help. I even go so far as to write out the introduction and forward it to my connection. Networking works best when both parties can offer the other something useful, so I always make sure that I am reciprocate.
Groups are one way to contact second- and third-degree LinkedIn members directly. But don’t join a group and start contacting individual members without making an earnest attempt to participate in community dialogue, be genuine.
I believe it is important to focus on quality over quantity, as well as working toward having a well-rounded network. There are a couple key people to have as part of your network, including:
- A Mentor: A person who has reached the level of success you aspire to have. You can learn from their success as well as their mistakes. Heed their wisdom and experience. This relationship offers a unique perspective because they have known you through several peaks and valleys in your life and watched you evolve.
- A Coach: Someone who comes in at different times in your life and help with critical decisions and transitions and offer an objective perspective, similar to a sounding-board.
- An Industry Insider: Someone in your chosen field who has expert-level information or access to it. This person will keep you informed of what’s happening now and what the next big thing is.
Building a deep network by only including people from your current profession leaves too many stones unturned, limiting potential opportunities.
Have you used some of these strategies in your personal networking plan?