“I’d love to take you to coffee sometime.” Time is everyone’s biggest asset - so offering someone coffee when you’re trying to increase your network is not much of a value add for them.
You cannot go into a cup of coffee hoping the person on the other side of the table can / will do something for you. “Networking should be reframed into RELATIONSHIP BUILDING” said Dorie Clark when I interviewed her in November. Look for people who you have things in common with and you’d like to spend time with. Not people you’re hoping to get to like you enough for an ask.
Here’s 3 ways to expand your network in 2019:
Zoom Video Communications / Skype / Google Hangouts calls.
1. This solves the proximity issue for the people you can’t ask to coffee.
2. It’s still a face to face conversation! You can be in your element and they can be in theirs.
3. No risk. You mutually determine if there’s a potential opportunity to build a relationship.
PRO TIP; Don’t have your phone out or other open windows on your computer. It’s too easy to be distracted. This goes for both parties.
Ask for introductions from your existing network.
Claude Silver introduced me to Jared Nichols, MSF via email. We had a 2 hour Zoom call (it was supposed to be 30 min). I didn’t ask for that intro but she knew he and I would have tons to talk about. If people in your network know you’re looking for good meaningful connections, these things may happen. The people that know you, will connect you with the RIGHT people.
Stop asking for things, and instead let people know you can help them if they need it...even if it’s for free. But “doing work for free has a negative connotation and devalues you.” Right? I hear that all the time and couldn’t disagree more. If you want to offer value using your skill set, and it’s completely altruistic - then do it! It’s YOUR decision. If you worry about the perception that may follow then you’re already operating in a manner in which you’re too worried about what others will think. I made some content for a now mentor and friend Jill Katz for free. I liked her the moment I met her. I wanted to get to know her. So I offered. Now she’s offered value to me because of the mutual interest we have in seeing each other’s business succeed.
So there you go. You can be more creative in fostering relationships and expanding your network. Have a wonderful Christmas!
All the best,