As 2015 draws to a close, it’s time to look back and think about the things that you could do better for next year. For most entrepreneurs and professionals in general, it’s networking and relationship-building. In order to boost your career, you need to make valuable connections with people. The person you introduced yourself to may not be your next investor, client or business partner, but he may know someone who might be. Have you ever heard about the 6-degrees of separation?
So today, we’re listing down 4 refreshing yet simple tips on how you can expand your network for 2016.
1. Don’t be lazy. Attend it!
We can always come up with a dozen excuses on why we shouldn’t attend events, but the thing is, there are also a LOT of reasons on why you should go! So go ahead and attend that meeting, that industry meet-up, that conference, that workshop, that general membership meeting. Sign up, send your RSVP, and get moving. You won’t meet new people if you stay in your own little box.
2. Be genuine.
It’s so easy to spot someone who’s only pretending to be interested in what you’re saying. We can all smell a contrived sales pitch from miles away. So please, stop pretending and try to be as genuine as possible. You can still say something about your company or your agenda, but mix it with sincerity and actual interest in what the other person has to say as well. Don’t hog the conversation. Share the air-time and let each other shine. Remember, putting your best foot forward can entail honesty and sincerity too!
3. Don’t rush it.
There will be moments when you’ll meet a possible mentor or maybe a potential investor. You strike up a good conversation and see sparks fly. But then you feel sad because they don’t call you back or they haven’t responded to your emails yet. Don’t worry. While some professional relationships take off at once, others take time to build. A few may not even happen. But we’re not looking for an instant lotto win here. The goal is to install a system in you. Where you constantly build relationships with key people. Where you are confident in sharing your story and giving value to others.
4. Gold may already be around you.
Sometimes, you don’t even have to look to far! Try to study your existing network and rummage for potential relationships. You may already know a colleague with an inspiring story. An acquaintance may have already adopted a new IT system that you want to try out for your company. A gym buddy may be the gate-keeper to that person that you want to get know. Don’t have any regrets. Don’t neglect the potential relationships with people in your close proximity.
These 4 tips that we shared above are not rocket science. Keep attending events. Be genuine. Take your time. Look around you. People are a great source of knowledge. And the beauty of it is that, once you’ve built real, genuine, professional relationships, it will allow itself to expand and strengthen if you play your cards right!
So make that decision to be more outgoing and genuine in 2016. Your business will surely thank you for it!