What if I told you there’s a collection of people, who could be your best networking group, and they’re right under your nose, would you want to know more? They want to see you succeed. They want to help. They’ve helped when you haven’t even asked for help. The trouble is you’re not consistently networking with this group. You haven’t connected the dots and seen it for what it is—a great underused resource. And worse yet, since you haven’t realized the groups potential and don’t share your needs and wants, you don’t ask how you can help them! Have you figured out who I’m talking about yet? It’s your friends.
Your Best Networking Group is Waiting
Was your first thought, “I’m NOT going to USE my friends!” Or was it, “I already network with my friends.” To the first point; it’s not using if you come from help. Begin by asking your friends what they need, what they’re looking for, and where they need help. These are your friends; they’ll reciprocate. And if they don’t…think about what that may mean. I thought I networked with my friends until I did. I didn’t really begin networking with friends until our Friend Up group organically evolved. I’ve talked about Friend Up before; it’s comprised of more than 100 friends in a Facebook group and a dozen or so of us who meet once a month and brainstorm ways to help each other. The group taught me the importance of networking with friends.
How to Effectively Network with Friends
- In the past when I attempted to network with friends it was disjointed and unorganized. It was hit or miss. If I was with a friend and I thought of my networking need, I might broach the topic. Now I share my networking needs with my friends.
- I didn’t take time to think about what I needed. Having a group of friends who share needs forces me to focus on what’s important to me. Now I take time to consider my needs.
- I used to assume all my friends knew what I wanted. What was I thinking—that they were mind readers? Now I share what I need.
- When I was hesitant to network with friends, I didn’t ask about their needs. Now I ask.
What Are You Waiting for?
If you network why wouldn’t you network with THE people most-invested in you—your friends? I’m not saying to forego other network events and opportunities—of course not. What I’m saying is consider all your resources. Where else will you find networkers who know and care about you? Take a moment and make a list of friends, people you communicate with on a daily basis, folks you trust, and people who share with you. Look at you latest emails, texts, and social media conversations. You may be surprised how many people you confide in, relate to, and care about. Send them an individual message—email, text, or direct message, and begin by asking, “How can I help you?”
Are You a Good Networker?
I’d always considered myself an effective networker. I’m friendly, easy to talk to, and I’ve never met a stranger. However, none of that makes me a good networker – it makes me outgoing. If I wanted to be the most effective networker I could be I needed a plan. That’s how my networking workbook, Help Networking started.
My plan probably won’t be your plan. That’s why throughout the book there are worksheets, checklists, and simple CTA’s. Use these to create a networking plan that fits your needs.
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash