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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  • Jeffrey H.
    Jeffrey H.
    good information. Thank you for your help
  • Amanda Villone
    Amanda Villone
    I am interested in this post: (posted by) Kathy Owens Hello,The idea of reading trade journals interests me.  Please suggest how I can find out what publications are out there.  I am interested in health information (especially the current trends and medical software being used). I too, have worked in the medical/healthcare industry, in the office doing the administrative and clerical roles - records, data entry, billing, etc. It is what I would most love to get into again now. but most healthcare companies want you to already be familiar with their software. How do I go about learning and gaining experience in this other software? Anyone know?
  • Dianna Robertson
    Dianna Robertson
    Networking is essential and getting a mentor is just as important.  Mentors find you.  It's not the other way around.  I went to a job fair a couple of days ago and Stedman Grahm, Oprah's man friend  was the guest speaker.  The comments about mentors are his words.  I gave him my resume after he had finished speaking!  I'm looking for coaching, EAP or Counseling Positions in or out of the health industry. I love socializing.
  • Deborah Wolff
    Deborah Wolff
    I am in the process of changing my career direction from banking from a consumer collection representative to a fashion coordinator in the fashion industry. I would love to help other people as well as be able to socialize with someone who is in the fashion industry in order to give myself a direction.   
  • willie Bouyer
    willie Bouyer
    I was a customer service manager for AT&T Mobility were my scope of responsibilities were multi-focused to technical and sales not just internal and external customer service. So, I have a lot to bring to the table. Due to downsizing at the end of October 2009 I am now out of work after giving my all for the last 14 years with the company. I am open to new ideas and truly like the idea of networking as I will have the opportunity to meet great new people with the possibility of getting leads that may land me with a new career opportunity.  
  • Burnett Birthwright
    Burnett Birthwright
    I hope to make something out of it.
  • Anthony Omar
    Anthony Omar
    Hello,I think that tip #1 and #2 will help me in my career search. When I left the army, I had to attend a seminar which taught me how to transition into the civilian world. A portion of that seminar talked about networking and how to present yourself to an employer in a job interview. In this seminar tips #1 and #2 were emphasized. Thanks for the reminder
  • Clifford
    I have many years of experience in IT, mainly IBM mainframe programming and analysis.  I got laid off in '2004.  Since then, I haven't been able to find another job of this range.  I have applied and applied, but no offers.  I have increased my network, but nothing seems to work.  What else can I do?
  • Florence Dinobi
    Florence Dinobi
    Very simple but effective tips. Thanks
  • Tonda Hughes
    Tonda Hughes
    I have never used networking before; However, I am a fast learner and opened to new ideas.
  • Jane
    Thanks for the tips.  I agree networking is very important and saw some benefits.  However, I also saw that some introductions led to no where.
  • Miles Griffith
    Miles Griffith
    I think that neworking and the ideas adhering to the article are conducive to revamping consumers who view networking as a usage for mitigation. Aformenitioned usages adhesive defensibly permissible would be viabilty, feasibilty, and adhesion.
  • Rosa Guzman
    Rosa Guzman
    Thank you this will help me a lot to find a job. Thanks for the advice.
  • Jesse Austin
    Jesse Austin
    I need all the advice I can get and this is going to help me out greatly. I am always trying to keep my options open or have something/one to fall back on.
  • Kathy Owens
    Kathy Owens
    Thank you for the networking advice.  I am interested in suggestions on how to go about networking.  I'll keep trying to increase my contacts.  
  • Jim Hulton
    Jim Hulton
    80% of the jobs are found by networking. Keeping in touch with those who are in touch is a great way to stay connected in the business/searching for jobs world. Always be ready to ask others whom they know that could help you in your job search. People are most usually cooperative to provide help to those in need when asked properly.
  • Nita Larabee
    Nita Larabee
    Thanks for the suggestion.  I am starting with this very email!
  • Glynis Mcduffey
    Glynis Mcduffey
    Very interesting ideas, I am going to try #2 first and see how it goes. Thank you very much for the ideas. I needed some kind of direction on networking because I have been out of touch with the bussiness world for a while and need new contacts.
  • Denise Jenkins
    Denise Jenkins
    I received your information and I have seen how networking does work. As long as the right connection is made with the right people!
  • Debra Tanner
    Debra Tanner
    Yes, networking is powerful.  I use items 2 and 3, as well as attend weekly networking events in my State.  Networking not only assists one with gaining employment, but it also attracts new business associates.Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the article.
  • Ron Rowe
    Ron Rowe
    Definitely helpful.  Networking is a tremendous asset when performed properly. Hard work always pays off, but smarter hard work (arrived via networking) pays off in huge dividends.
  • Kathy Owens
    Kathy Owens
    Hello,The idea of reading trade journals interests me.  Please suggest how I can find out what publications are out there.  I am interested in health information (especially the current trends and medical software being used).
  • Darell Tapp
    Darell Tapp
    Any leads on "Networking" in Sales for Arizona?
  • Ellen
    Your networking ideas were very concise and specific.  I do not consider myself a very good networker and those are just the type of ideas I need.  I am especially going to try #3, since I am a voracious reader.  I am always more comfortable talking/writing to people when I have a specific topic to focus on.  I feel very intimidated making general "small talk" to strangers.
  • ann
    This was a great articleThanks Once Again

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