How to Build and Maintain A Network

Step 1: Choose 3-4 Groups to involve yourself with

  1.  Conferences based on your career path.  Beauty conferences, blogging conferences, business conferences, electrician conferences, rocket science conferences, etc. The sky is the limit when it comes to discovering these conferences because you have the internet.  It is worth the travel at least once a year to attend the extra training, be inspired, and get to know and collaborate with others in your field.

2. LinkedIN Join groups in your field.  I was a District Manager, so I am in three different district manager groups.  In these groups I see excellent job opportunity.  I find fresh ideas, and could reach out in the community with my generic roadblocks.

3. Alumni Assoc. You do not have to be a college grad (for success) or to be a part of an Alumni Association, your high school Aulmini group will do just fine. Work with what you have.

4. Chamber of Commerce/Economic Associations:  Visit the website to your local chamber of commerce and seek out way to membership, there is so much to benefit from joining.  They offer assistance to your business, they connect you with local businesses that may compliment your own, they hold improvement seminars and awards ceremonies that you could utilize to beef up your resume.  Chamber of Commerce will also keep you up to the date on the community’s processes and needs. This could also set you up for events where you will be able to get in touch with large political figures such as your mayor, some senators, or even your governor.

5.  Junior League/Heritage Club: Be involved with the community service while rubbing elbows with some affluent and some well intended members of the community. Attend luncheons, make friends, and build your network of connections.

6.  Sorority/Fraternity: Joining a Fratenity of any sort will result in life long bonds and lifelines in the real world.

7. Adult Community Sports Teams/Social Groups:  Join a book club, a soccer team, a Bunco group, or even a mommy/daddy play group.  Really bond with complete strangers of your community over a common interest, get your face and name out there.

8.  Church: Being a member of a religious affiliation will always broaden your road of connections.  It will also serve as a fantastic safety net in the harder times, there is no better group for emotional support and strength.

9.  Country/Yacht Clubs (Fake it ’til you make it): Even if you haven’t made the big top yet, you can still reach out and become a member of some nearby well credited golf, raquet, yacht, or tennis club.  You will be amongst those who have achieved success, you can learn from them, gain connection in them, and enjoy the perks of club life.

Step 2:  10 Ways to Make the Most of These Groups

  1.  Be Active: Particularly at first it is important to be known.  Attend at least one or two events a month to gain familiarity in your name and face.  If it’s an online forum than check in and post at least once or twice a week.
  2. Be Noticed:  At social events strategically stand where there will be traffic, near the entrance, or even better near the punch bowl.  In online forums make sure to participate often, with open ended questions that encourage positive conversation.
  3.  Be Proactive and Socialize: Gain trust through handwork and openness.  Discuss only topics that will not offend (avoid politics, religion, and personal drama).  Keep the conversations light, positive, and professional.  Also take heed to the Chatty Cathy in you, listen quietly as much as you speak.
  4. Dress for Success: Whether you are going to a side of the road volunteer job, an outdoor family picnic, or even just a book club meeting, dress to impress.  You appearance says allot about it, most times it will speak louder than what you truly have to say.  Keep your dress casual business at all events, unless explicitly told otherwise.
  5. Give a Little:  Sponsor a small local event hosted by your organization, or if you don’t have the funds volunteer wherever you can, even if it is just setting up a table, or bringing a home baked pie.  This will exhibit your willingness to help and your dedication to the group.
  6. Seek out an Ally or Two:  At your first event seek out two people that you feel the most chemistry and feel free to break down the wall with them a tad.  Tell a (clean) joke, discuss a new movie or book, find real life bonding ground to build a friendship.
  7. How to Appropriately Utilize Have an Ally:  An ally is not just a safety net at the big events, but there is something to be said for the power in numbers.  You will find yourself with more courage to reach out to other attendees when you have your support system there with you.  Make sure not to fall into the rut of “clicking” with your ally, but instead be sure to reach out to at least three to four individuals an hour.
  8. Calling Cards: Never arrive to an event without a pocketful of calling cards.  Make a personal goal in your head each event, today I will hand out 25 calling cards.  This is possibly the most vital tool to your personal success.  In return make a goal to collect an equal amount of calling cards, and be quick to add them to your rolodex.
  9. Limit Your Alcohol: This should be obvious but just in case, no more than one or two drinks at these events.
  10. Personal Space & Body Language:  Be mindful of your stance, do not tower over someone, or lean into their faces to speak.   Stand with a confident but open posture, and a natural smiling face.  If you need inspiration for a smile at first in an uncomfortable situation think of the funniest thing that has happened this week, there, that’s perfect, now hold that smile.

Lastly and foremost: Be genuine.  Make life long friendships.  Have fun.  Enjoy yourself.  Networking can be the funnest step to success!

Thirsty for more? More Networking Tips Here

2 thoughts on “How to Build and Maintain A Network

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