I get questions in my coaching sessions all the time on the importance of networking and the most effective ways to go about doing it. Building out our professional network can be instrumental in advancement and in reaching career goals. The old adage ‘it’s who you know’ without a doubt has its merit. Not only can a strong network lead you to solutions but can also propel you as ‘connector’ for others, which builds your own brand and value.
Here’s a very nice article I came across on Inc.com that highlights a few questions to ask yourself as you build your network…
Build Your Network by Asking 3 Simple Questions
Networking is critical to building your business. So is building your own network of relationshipswithout sacrificing your authentic self.
I recently was inspired by a conversation with Judy Robinett, author of “How to be a Power Connector.” Robinett and I have been in and around the same circles for about a decade but have never met. She is a legend among the female executive power-set, particularly in the investor community. Her experience includes c-suite positions in public companies, numerous board seats, and start-up investor. And being a master networker.
Robinett, who describes herself as naturally shy, has managed to build relationships with some of the world’s most powerful people, from multinational CEOs to billionaire entrepreneurs. She overcame her shyness by focusing on getting to know the people she was meeting-;learning about their interests, values, and passion. You too can start from a place of common interest by targeting people who you believe may hold some insight and passion into your topic and with every network-building conversation, ask these three questions of the people you meet:
What are you working on and how can we work together?
The best place to build a strong relationship is by offering to be a source of assistance. Before you reach out to your target connections, make sure to take stalk in your capabilities and what value you have to offer. I invested some time taking inventory of my value by asking the people around me what they turn to me for, where they feel my greatest strengths are and where they believe I hold blind spots. I created a personal brand story that feels authentic to me. It’s a value-based story I can tell very comfortably so that the person I am talking with knows who I am and that when I offer to help, she or he know exactly how I can help them. “Everyone, even highlysuccessful people, has wants and needs,” says Robinett. You just may be the one to help them.
Robinett shared an experience where she met with the very successful and highly-networked executive founder of an organization that funds women-funded start-ups. After hearing the executive’s strategic pitch, Robinett reached out, unsolicited, to share her suggestions. “I offered my thoughts on incorporating crowdfunding. She asked for my card and called me the next day. We have since built a strong connection,” says Robinett.
I am trying to connect with people who can help me; do you have someone you would recommend?
Power connectors like Robinett believe that their greatest asset is the ability to make introductions between people. “I have a very wide, deep robust network. As soon as someone shares his or her story with me, my head starts clicking how I can help. Just one contact is all it takes,” says Robinett. If you feel too shy about approaching someone who doesn’t know you, Robinett suggests you start with the people you know….