How do you network?
Building a network can be an exciting and dedicated task. It is not something that happens overnight, but is something that has the potential to snowball into a collection of talented individuals.
Since recently graduating college, I’ve been working on building a network of professionals to keep in contact with as I begin my career. What I’ve been amazed with is how my network has grown in just a few months and in the most unexpected of ways.
Networking is a constant
Having been a communication studies major with a wide range of interests, I’ve been dabbling in a number of different projects since graduation. As a result, I’ve been fortunate to meet some very helpful individuals who have been great with giving guidance and advice, as well as assistance with putting me in touch with people in my fields of interest.
While it may not have always been something that I sought out, I’ve been trying to converse with as many people as possible and build connections in any social situation outside of my norm.
It is always best to just put yourself out there, because you never know where it may take you.
Networking as a new agent
This is especially important if you are just starting a career as an agent, or leaving your brokerage where you have to build your network from scratch.
The best first step in this situation is to reach out to people in your existing network to see if they know anyone where you’re going who may be of assistance.
Once you settle into your new normal, it can be helpful to break the ice with your colleagues and potential clients. Not only begin to build rapports and relationships with them, but find out who they know. Figure out what your goals are for building a network and seek out individuals who may have insight.
Communication is key
Now that you’ve been put in touch with a person or two, make sure that you’re following through on that communication.
Having a name won’t do you much good, you need to start a dialogue and see where that may take you.
Whether it be a one-time conversation or a conversation that leads to a lifelong relationship, making that communicative first step is crucial.
Being in a new setting, you won’t be doing yourself any favors by shutting yourself in or turning down introductions.
You need to be open to meeting new people and attending different professional/social functions, even if you barely know anyone there (that’s the whole point of networking!)
After a few months and (hopefully) a fairly solid network, do an evaluation to make sure that this network of people aligns with your goals and values. With this, reach out to the people who are doing the things that you find interesting.
Networking as we speak
I was recently put in touch with a mentor who gave me a piece of advice that has already proved to be beneficial.
She urged me to not just look for opportunities that are available, but seek out information on what I’m interested and find a way to pitch myself.
Having worked on different social media management projects in the past, I’ve been seeking out opportunities that would be beneficial in terms of both experience and interest. With my mentor’s advice, I decided to reach out to one of my favorite bands and simply ask if they were looking for any assistance with their social media.
A week later, I found myself at a dinner talking about different options for their social media.
From the I wound up meeting a number of other individuals who were looking for social media advice. As a result, my network wound up expanding in a positive way, just from a simple inquiry email.
Show ‘em what you’re made of
Do not be afraid to put yourself out there and to ask questions. The biggest lesson I’ve learned in the professional/networking realm since entering “the real world” is that no one is going to do it for you.
So, send that inquiry email, seek out those introductions, and be receptive of invitations and opportunities – you never know where it may lead you.