Skip to main content

Find a way to grow and maintain your network and break it down into easy-to-follow steps

monkeybusinessimages/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Your network is your net worth. It is a source of knowledge, job opportunities, potential business partnerships, future hires and so much more. Networking won't only help you find your next job, it will help you improve within your current position. In short, your power is derived from and amplified by your network.

One of the world's most successful tennis stars; a pop singer from the '90s making her comeback; the beauty director at a major consumer magazine for teenagers; executives at a major personal computing company – these are some of the people I count among my network. And I don't just network with so-called high-powered people. I'm all about sharing my expertise and getting to know younger professionals, including new fashion designers, writers and photographers.

My many connections have enriched my life, personally and professionally.

Story continues below advertisement

Traditional networking guides and tips make networking pretty transactional, but networking is more effective when you're meeting and getting to know people before you need help with something or want to sell your products and services.

Networking should be a regular part of your life. Find a way to grow and maintain your network and break it down into easy-to-follow steps. Sallie Krawcheck, the former president of the global wealth and investment management division of Bank of America and current leader of 85 Broads, has a really simple but brilliant strategy. She follows two very simple rules for networking: She aims to meet at least one new person a month or to significantly deepen an existing relationship, and she does one nice thing for someone she is already connected to every week.

When networking outside of your company, you shouldn't focus on just colleagues within your industry, either; a wide-ranging network is a happy network. Sallie Krawcheck added a third rule for networking to her repertoire: connect with professionals who are different than you. I love that. When you read about impressive entrepreneurs or you learn about interesting research coming out of a far-off university, research that person and shoot them a quick e-mail.

You can say something like, "I read about you in The New York Times and the work you're doing fascinates me. I'd love to talk to you for 15 minutes. Maybe a phone call or a Skype session? Hope to hear from you soon!" or "Your work developing new algorithms for Google sounds really fascinating. SEO affects so many industries that what you're doing is sure to have a lot of implications. I'd love to learn more about it. Could you fit in a quick call?"

Short is sweet. It becomes information overload if the e-mail exceeds a paragraph or two.

There are natural ways to meet people outside of your bubble. If you pursue non-work related interests and volunteer, say, at an animal shelter or take a not-for-credit dance class, you'll meet professionals outside of your industry. You'll already have interests in common, making connecting that much easier. Being part of a board for something that doesn't directly correlate to your industry is another fantastic approach. (Although, you shouldn't join a board just to get to know people.)

And no matter how you meet someone, try to give before you take. As a high-powered executive, you might feel weary of giving away your valuable time. But as Adam Grant, professor at Wharton and author of Give and Take has found, the people who give more than they take go further and experience more success.

Story continues below advertisement

Erica Dhawan, a leadership expert and CEO of Cotential, mentioned a mantra in a recent post on Forbes that has helped her build deep connections with people and connect with the likes of Bill Gates and Sheryl Sandberg: "Give, give, get." Make it your motto too.

With these tips, you should be able to grow your network in a way that will make people excited to help you when you ask for it.

Rakia Reynolds is the founder of Skai Blue Media, a multimedia public relations agency with an all-star roster of lifestyle, technology and fashion clients. Noted as an influencer in the creative business industry, Reynolds is sought after by companies to provide her expertise in creative development, branding and strategic communications.

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

Follow us @GlobeSmallBiz, on Pinterest and Instagram
Join our Small Business LinkedIn group
Add us to your circles
Sign up for our weekly newsletter

Report an error

The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

Please note that our commenting partner Civil Comments is closing down. As such we will be implementing a new commenting partner in the coming weeks. As of December 20th, 2017 we will be shutting down commenting on all article pages across our site while we do the maintenance and updates. We understand that commenting is important to our audience and hope to have a technical solution in place January 2018.

Discussion loading… ✨