Jay Kim recently wrote an article for Forbes, about the correct ways to network.
He spoke of The Oprah Effect, which expresses what an endorsement by Oprah or an appearance on her show can do for your business. Endorsements of any sort, not just by Oprah, can transform your start-up out of your garage into a multinational company. This is why how you network and who you network with is crucial to the success you see in your career. How do you climb the networking ladder? Selena Soo, a business strategist, offered her expert opinion on the right way to network.
Soo offered three main points that will help you build a better network:
Be clear on who you want to connect with
For starters, it is very important that you have a goal for your network. The point of networking is to help enhance your own career, so make sure the people you are networking with can help you further your career goals. It is a waste of time to be networking with just anyone. Don’t waste your time with meaningless meetings that will have no benefit to you in the long run. Time is money, so don’t waste your own time.
Make a list of your ideal network. Include the famous people, the people you already know, and people in between that could lead you to connections with famous influencers. Remember to have a combination of fantasy and reality. Your ideal network can’t all be impossible people, like Oprah Winfrey. But if Oprah is your end goal, figure out smaller more realist connections that can make that goal happen.
Give and you might receive
Now that you know who you want to network with, you need to add value to that. The majority, if not everyone on the list you made already have enough people in their own networks. Why should they add you? They are all busy people who have friends.
One way that Jay Kim mentions as a “surefire way” to get the influencers attention that you are seeking is “good old fashion flattery”. Everyone loves flattery, if someone says they don’t, they are lying. Write about on any news outlet you can, whether it be a tweet, an article, a blog post. Anything.
Soo’s way of adding value is to express appreciation. If an influencer you are trying to network with has had a positive impact in your life, let them know! Write them an email expressing what they did and how it impacted you. People love to know that others appreciate their work. Soo suggests to “end your email by saying, ‘No response needed’ then that’s a pure gift because they don’t even need to respond”.
Gain their trust by playing the long game
The last step of networking the right way, is to put the effort in that you are hoping to get out of it. Building a relationship takes time and it takes contact. Like before, if Oprah is an influencer you want in your network, you can’t meet her once then four years later expect her to do you a favor. You have to stay in contact and actually build a relationship with this person so they have your trust. Well known influencers always have a reputation on the line, so if they are connecting with someone below them they need to know that their reputation will not be burned.
Just like everything else in life, networking takes time and effort. It is important to put in effort if you want good results. Networking is key to your success.
Soo ends with saying “when you think about it, everything that you want in life and in business comes through other people”.