Grow your network to hundreds of contacts in three easy steps

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Networking is a powerful tool that can catapult even ordinary careers to extraordinary heights. From entry level employees to business owners to politicians, individuals at all levels have leveraged networking to achieve their professional aspirations. Despite its proven effectiveness, many fail to exploit "people power", mostly due to self-imposed, often myopic, misconceptions. I have come across myths ranging from "I am not a very people person" to "I don't know a lot of people". In this article, I will show you how you can grow your network in three easy steps. 1. Snowball your network Not too long ago, an insurance agent called me. He started the conversation as follows: "Hi Nimish, XYZ asked me to get in touch with you because she thought you would be interested in speaking with me." From his tone, I could tell -- as most of us can -- that he was a telemarketer and my first instinct was to run, but since he had mentioned my colleague's name, I allowed him to continue. At the end of the conversation, he asked me if I knew someone who could benefit from a similar discussion (I would prefer to call it a monologue). Even though I wasn't interested in his services, I knew some people who were actively looking for insurance products. Serendipity? I don't know. The agent had utilized what I prefer to call "the snowball technique". Many of us may never need to sell insurance but the principle of snowballing can be applied to our networking efforts as well. If we make a conscious effort to ask everyone in our contact list to introduce us to a few of their contacts -- we must be prepared to reciprocate if necessary -- and if we were to ask each of those contacts to introduce us to a few more (and repeat the same process over and over), within a few months our network could easily grow to hundreds if not thousands of contacts. How you use them is entirely up to you. 2. Network with the well-networked Connecting with the well-connected is a very powerful strategy. Industry leaders, authors, experts, speakers -- these individuals have a following of their own and connecting with just a few of these could enable you to tap into a pool of thousands of potential networking contacts. 3. Read and write Of course, I know you can read and write. I am referring to professional literature. When you read professional literature or write for trade journals, academic publications, magazines, blogs, and other publishing avenues, you will get solid exposure to a large pool of readers. Writing is not just a PR exercise. Every reader is a potential networking contact. If you are a voracious reader, consider writing short e-mails or letters appreciating the work of authors who caught your attention. If done consistently, these short exchanges could be precursors to some very interesting networking opportunities.

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  • Ed G
    Ed G
    Straight forward but very important advice.Ten years ago, all you had to do was call a handful of recruiters and get an interview.Not in this market and if you are an individual with 20 plus years experience, networking is critical.Thanks
  • Denise  M
    Denise  M
    I would consider this as a future exercise and have in fact found the article to be extremely objective as well as informative, as a marketing trade consultant I find this content very useful
  • August  M
    August  M
    I am interested in starting a career inthe healthcare field, school is the first step after I graduate'  where do I start?
  • ANN B
    ANN B
    This article offers excellent tips for networking.   i am inspired  to rethink about  who I know and what they would be happy to offer or who they know who would be open to receive what I have to offer.Thank you.
  • Chris T
    Chris T
    Thanks for your advice on networking. I hope to get more chances to be a buyer or administrative assistant!
  • Tyrone M
    Tyrone M
    I agree with the article 100% because it's the number one way of finding employment, But you have to put forth the individual effort to make a difference.
  • Raymond C
    Raymond C
    Great advice.  I will start putting it into application immediately.
  • hamza k
    hamza k
    networking is a good field
  •  Gloria L
    Gloria L
    Would like to network with others to meet people regarding possibly lead to emploment.
  • Audrey Ikner
    Audrey Ikner
    I think this networking information will help me get a great deal. I am a wonderful people person.
  • Tyrone M
    Tyrone M
    I am more than sure this networking information could work for me if I start the process. I've been trying to get back into my field of work (CAD Drafting) since '08. I've been applying to jobs on- line but with no success.
  • Frederick W
    Frederick W
    Thank you for the insight on networking. Oftentimes, it is hard to determine which of the contacts will be a fit and then how to graciously move on.
  • Adil Yaqoob
    Adil Yaqoob
    Seeking challenging and responsible position, where my educational abilities can be fully and effectively utilized with opportunities of growth, enhancement of professional knowledge and permanent employment.
  • edwin h.
    edwin h.
    thanx again for the idea of publishing within my trade
  • Cathy Tran
    Cathy Tran
    I am have 20 years experience in social work and I recently lost my job from Social Service Agency in 2/2011. This is the first time that I had to learn networking in order to better my chance for job search. I appreciate any help I can get.
  • James F
    James F
    How do I get started?
  • Reginald J.
    Reginald J.
    Interesting article. I would like to know more about growing your network with the third step.
  • Paul P
    Paul P
    Networking often is a "Catch 22" in that, yes, it does snowball but, like a rolling snowball, it picks up everything. I am still searching for the way to get even a clue as to the valid paths and those that are either time consuming or lead to spending more money on programs that are "monologues and canned responses". If anyone out there has found even a slight insight on this problem, please let me know.
  • Heidi Weber
    Heidi Weber
    Thank you for the advice. It is truly helpful. I have been laid off for for three months. I am looking for an office administration position in either administrative assistant, receptionist, data entry or customer sservice. I also try to expand my my search to different positions that my skills can be utilized. Any advice would be helpful.
  • Daniel Gutner
    Daniel Gutner
    Thanks for the post, Nimish. I will definitely be applying some of those techniques now.
  • Veronique Brunner
    Veronique Brunner
    I would very much like to join professionals in their networking but do not know where to start.  In my most recent job (prior to my layoff two weeks ago)I held the position of 'Senior Editor' writing on the history of antique art and jewelry.  I also compiled an 'Antique Jewelry Directory' the contents of which were and remain unique, as my references and sources of research included all that has been written on the subject in European countries, primarily France and Germany. I read the said reference books in their original versions and translated them personally to reflect in the encyclopedia I compiled.  I would be grateful to join a network of professional writers and editors not only in the domain of art and history, but in all other fields.
  • Solomon
    Great networking advice.... Can anyone comment on the idea of me doing a ten week certification course in computer repairs and networking? Is it worth the investment in the terms of getting a job or as a good career choice? Please give feedback......Currently unemployed..
  • stephen o.
    stephen o.
    This is a worthy information to tap into.
  • Gaurav S.
    Gaurav S.
    Great Information. Thanks for posting it. All 3 tips, if used together and in a professional way should open doors to a lot of opportunities.
  • Michael O.
    Michael O.
    Your advice on networking is great. Thank you.How can l get networking leads in Arizona, Georgia, Tennessee, and Texas in Human Resources

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