You might think you have a good business network, but can you count on your contacts to deliver when you really need their help? In It’s Not Just Who You Know, leadership-development consultant and networking specialist Tommy Spaulding suggests these tactics are key to building a robust network:
Identify whose interests would align with yours: compile a list of whom you should get to know by seeking advice from team members and industry colleagues, and by reading relevant blogs, websites and industry publications. then study your potential contacts, so that going into your first meeting you know what you have in common and how you can help each other.
Ask others what you can do for them: Always be on the lookout for ways to help the other person. if you put other people first, most of them will more than return the favour.
Make it personal: Advance a budding relationship by focusing on the more personal information about a new contact that isn’t on his business card. is he passionate about the electric guitar or mentoring at-risk kids? even if you chat only for a few minutes, ask a probing question that will reveal the hopes, dreams and interests of this new person in your life.
Never fake an interest in something just to get close to someone: Build your network around shared business or personal passions. if you try to base a relationship on things you don’t enjoy, then the relationship is unlikely to last long.