by Randall CraigFiled in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Networking, Strategy
Everyone knows the importance of a network, but what if you have recently moved to a new city (or country), and you don’t know a single person? Or if you are a young person just beginning a career, and your network doesn’t yet exist? Or if you have just taken a role in a new industry? How can you use your network if you don’t have one?
The common theme is that a network must “exist” before you can use it – and therefore without one, you are at a distinct disadvantage. This woe-is-me attitude rests upon the assumption that a network is a “thing” that you have, as opposed to a process that you engage in.
The purpose of networking is to meet new people, and deepen the relationships with those that you already know. If you don’t know a single person, then your networking task need only focus on one task: your job is to meet new people! Networking is the journey, not the destination.
Of course, this extreme situation – not knowing a single person – is in fact rarely the case. We each know family, friends, professional colleagues, alumni from school, and likely a few others as well. Each of these people are connections into different circles.
Without networking goals, our networking activities are rarely strategic. Choose how much time you spend meeting new people vs deepening the relationships with your existing contact base. Choose your activities – and then calendarize them.
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