Archive for June, 2012

How to Find Contacts and Add Them to Your Professional Network

June 15th, 2012


1. Spot good contacts.

An effective professional network has a wide variety of people in it, including people from outside your industry
Look for people who are active in and passionate about their field (whatever it is), and who seem interested in what you’re doing. Also, people who communicate well are likely to be “connectors” who have their own networks that you may be able to tap into.
Always be open to possibilities. That means being friendly and outgoing in your personal life. Go ahead — strike up a conversation on your next plane trip (but not at the beginning of a long flight — people are more relaxed and less fearful of getting “trapped” if you wait until the plane is close to its destination).

2. Check your network.

Seek out new contacts: Check your friends’ social networks for influential people in your industry, or for people who work at companies on your “dream job” list.
Of course, the best time to make a connection is when you have something to offer.

3: Offer value.

Effective networking begins long before you need something from your network. Demonstrating that you have something to offer builds a foundation of goodwill. Every time you talk to someone in your professional network, you should ask what he or she is working on, so you’re always aware of the problems your contacts are trying to solve.
So, now you’ve got your list of desired contacts in mind. The next time you read a great article, attend an industry conference, or know of a job at your company, think of not only the people in your network but also the people on your desired-contacts list. Ask yourself, “Who would benefit from this knowledge?” Then share your knowledge with those people.
And go out of your way to introduce people who you think would benefit from knowing each other (this helps two people at once!).
Another great way to get connected to people is less aggressive but lays a very effective foundation: Simply become an enthusiastic audience member! Follow desired-contacts’ blogs, and comment (thoughtfully and professionally).

4. Stay in touch.

Sound like a lot of work? It doesn’t have to be — in fact, your networking efforts shouldn’t take a lot of time (don’t “spam” your network by mass-sharing things of little value). Read an interesting article or book? Ask yourself who else might benefit from it. Planning to attend an industry conference or networking event?

Find out how you can get more involved. Have something to say? Update your blog and share it with the world.