Growing your network – Part 2

Don’t just aim to network with high fliers. Have some low fliers too if there is such a thing. Just as you aim to get to a certain level, why not help others get to their desired level as well. Believe it or not someone will regard you as a high flier and you are probably one as well. Remember that not everyone started out as a high flier. The altruistic part aside, you should consider having a well rounded network. Perhaps you could do with a balance.  Is it not after all relative whether one is a high flier after all? Ensure that your network will help you to keep grounded in the firm reality while they also help you grow your wings to reach the desired future and goals. Don’t fall out of touch with reality because of your network. By the same token don’t be caught up in a fantasy world.

Grow with your network. As you grow in your career and personal life, so will your network. Let natural progression take place. Assess your network every now and then. You will realise that as the people in your network grow the amount of experience, knowledge in your network will also grow and there will be so much value that you can derive from this.

Be patient with your network. You can’t do everything at once. While some might argue that when your objectives have been achieved there will be no further need for the network, I am of the view that you must still aim to build sustainable networks in your life. These are networks which last a lifetime and go beyond self enrichment.

Just as you seek to get something out of your networking give something back to your network. Think seriously about it. What value will people get from interacting with you? Why would other people want to network with you? If you don’t feel too confident about the value that others can derive from networking from you, maybe you can try to identify areas of development for yourself.

Don’t oversell yourself. While marketing yourself could be part of the process of networking as you seek to increase awareness about your own strengths, be careful not to oversell yourself. Do not exaggerate the importance of your achievements and accomplishments. This will only increase expectations within your network about your actual capabilities and possibly lead to future disappointment. Rather under promise and over deliver. This is a much safer option. Do not risk losing valuable contacts you have worked so hard to build.

Remember and acknowledge those who help you along the way. Do not one day claim that you did it all on your own and take all the credit. You will not  lose anything by giving credit where it’s due. By giving credit where it’s due you also serve to encourage others to continue with their noble work of uplifting others and contributing to the greater good. You become the living example of the work they have done.

Actually meet people in person if possible. I still believe that there is no substitute for meeting people in person. As your network grows in size you will have to exercise discretion in who you would like to meet. It will just not be practical to meet everyone in your network at some point.

Do what works for you. As you go about building, growing and nurturing your network, you will be able to determine and establish your own comfort level with regards to a number of things, frequency of communication, mode of communication, formal versus informal communication to name but a few. When you are not sure rather be conservative such as going the formal route. With time you will know and do what works for you. – BTM

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