While we often refer to a personâ€™s â€œnetworkâ€, the reality is that most people have several networks.Â Most people have one that addresses work related issues, personal/social life, professional/ career issues, etc.Â Depending on your goal, you can tap into one or more; for instance, through careful branding and referral marketing techniques can use several networks to help you increase business (See our webinar on Referral Marketing at www.presentationexcellencegroup.com).
Have you ever thought about the effectiveness of your networks?Â Â Dr. Ibarra Hermini, in Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader, notes that networks can develop weaknesses. For instance:
- Do they represent diverse ideas? Contacts may be too homogeneous, too much like you.
- Is it focused on your future needs? Your network, formed over the years, may reflect past concerns as opposed to the future issues you need to face.
- Is it closely-held? They may already know each other and represent a common theme.
- Are the focused on who you are as opposed to who you can be?
Think about it. If your networks arenâ€™t expansive and diverse enough, maybe itâ€™s time to intentionally broaden one or more of the networks.Â Here are a few ways to do s:
- Attend meetings and conferences that youâ€™ve not attended before. If you can, research them to help you identify some key people you want to meet. Meet at least three people â€“ and then follow-up!
- Start a new group of your own â€“ Linkedin, Facebook, Meetup, etc.
- Lean in â€“ agree to speak at a conference or start a blog, so you trigger future connections with people to discuss your topic.
- As Keith Ferrazzi titled his book, â€œNever Eat Lunch Aloneâ€!
- Set aside a few minutes each week to review the composition of your network, and contact a few who can help connect with others.
Share with us your evaluation of your networks and the steps youâ€™re taking to expand it.