I received some outstanding coaching many years back that “the time you need a strong professional network is not the time to start networking.” While I am a very outgoing and gregarious individual, I have never been much for meaningless conversation. It took me a few years to understand that the strongest network relationships were built from professional business dealings, by taking a genuine interest in individuals and a quest to really help others.
Over the last few months, I have tested the strength of my network and was surprisingly pleased. I had a simple litmus test that proved overwhelmingly successful. When I called for absolutely no apparent reason, in today’s economy, with no current active business, did they take my call. I was pleasantly surprised to find the “old school” way I was taught to do business paid off handsomely. This made me step back and think for a moment about what it was I had actually done for so many years. It was not magic, but it was constant and consistent. Here are some simple examples:
• Care about others as much as yourself.
• Care a lot about both sides of “the deal” you are negotiating.
• Stand up for your supplier/customer inside your company when appropriate.
• When you read something that will interest a colleague, send it to them.
• Always make time to visit when you are on someone else’s location.
• Make time accept a colleague visiting your location.
• When someone calls and you don’t know the answer, recommend someone who may help.
• Speak at events that assist them fulfilling their obligations.
This is so simple you may not believe it could work, but I have been doing these little acts daily for many years. I am fortunate to be in a life-changing opportunity that only became available based on my personal and professional network.
What small tips or tools for network building would you add to this list?