November 08, 2016

There’s no one-step solution when maintaining your professional network. Meeting new people and keeping in touch with old colleagues takes time and energy, and it’s an ongoing effort. Simply maintaining your network is necessary, but growing your network is very important as well. What can you do to “level-up” your network?

Originally posted on LinkedIn.

I’m not sure if you’re familiar with Jim Rohn, but he has a great quote: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” I believe this holds true personally and professionally. Take a moment to look at leaders you admire: your boss, peers, friends, etc. Who is in their network?  Most likely you’ll notice that truly successful individuals keep a network of individuals who are either at their level or a level above them. World leaders, business owners and CEOs, Hall of Fame Athletes, A-List Celebrities, the list goes on and on…I think you get the point.

Most of us know and understand this concept but fail to spend the time and energy needed to grow our networks. While being exceptional at your job (and I truly mean exceptional) might help springboard your career, it might not be enough to get you to the next level.  

Talk is great, but action is better. In order to “level-up” your network, you need to take action and should expect to spend the necessary time and energy. Below is a list of action steps to help you “level-up” your network.

  • Find an external and/or internal mentor and ask for their guidance in expanding your network. Most successful people are happy to give their time and knowledge to those who are in need of help and also willing to put forth the time and energy.
  • Be a mentor. Mentoring goes both ways and you will learn just as much, if not more, by mentoring someone who is more junior than you.
  • Give back. Many successful people enjoy spending time giving time back to their community. This is a great way to connect with industry and community leaders and also contribute to a good cause.
  • Attend conferences and networking events that are in your industry and target people that you want to connect with. That said, don’t just “attend” and believe you will make meaningful connections just by being in the room. You have to put in the work and should only expect to leave with 1 or 2 meaningful connections.

Once you start to network there are a few things you need to keep in mind:

  • Always be willing to give first. Relationships go both ways and you need to be willing to give before you receive. You might find you have more to offer than you think.
  • Make yourself available to people who want to connect with youYou never know what a new connection will bring you.
  • Be clear and concise with your answer when someone asks you, “What can I do for you?”
  • Don’t let the “awe” stop you from reaching out to someone you want to connect with.
  • Always keep adding to your network and keep it current.

It takes little to no money to enhance your network, but it does take energy. Even individuals that have reached the pinnacle of their profession continue to expand their network and learn from others. You never know when a new connection can lead to your next promotion, company or a great friend. So, are you willing to do what it takes to “level-up” your network?

In what ways do you “level-up” your network? 

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Posted By: Jaclyn Roman

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