How Do I Build My Professional Network?

by: Bill Ringle

Have you ever wondered why some people seem to know a lot of people who help them in both business and personal pursuits and others don’t?

This result goes beyond superficial personality labels as well as intrinsic psychological differences.

In fact, it comes down to one simple distinction: if you know that having more people in you network will help you accomplish your personal and business goals and make the journey more enjoyable, you generally have more people in your network.

It’s true in business areas where if you have more people to ask for advice, you have a richer knowledge pool to draw from. If you have more people referring others to you, you have more prospects in the pipeline. If you have more satisfied clients, you tend to have more repeat business, and so on. And it works in your personal life, too, with neighbors, the parents who support their children’s school and sports activities, your workout buddies, and so on.

With that insight, here are 5 strategies to attract more people into your network:

  1. Always record contact info in a database, like a contact manager or customer relationship management tool, or CRM. You’ll increase your chances of staying in contact by being able to find and update information easily.

  2. Recognize that every group or organization you ever started, joined, ran, volunteered for, paid rent or taxes toward, graduated from, or subscribed to is a community waiting for you to explore. We network most easily with people we already have something in common with, so take stock in your communities.

  3. You’ve got to communicate with your network to let them know what you’re up to and how they can help. Assistance and support is probably closer than you realize. Reach out and share some news with everyone you know at least once a year; once quarter is even better.

  4. Use online social networks to expand your social and business networks. Facebook is more for your personal network and Linkedin is more for your business network.

  5. Take the lead. In some area step up and take on more responsibility, whether it’s in your professional association, local food bank, or your child’s tennis or soccer program. You’ll automatically widen your social and professional contacts.

Follow these strategies and watch your network grow.