“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with, including yourself.” – Jim Rohn
The business world was once one that required hours of in-person meetings and often comprehensive plans to build connections within industries, be this through morning meets, exhibitions or events specifically for networking. And, while each and every one of these still holds a solid place in business today, they are far from essential to the modern ways of building and nurturing a network.
I place a high value on quality relationships over quantity. I really don’t go to many networking events unless I have a very specific person that I’ve already arranged to meet. Here are five ways that I network and establish trust without wasting time at a traditional networking function.
- Come to Grips with Social Networking
I can’t believe that I still have to make this point, but social media is unequivocally the most important business tool that you’re not utilizing properly. And if you think it doesn’t apply to your niche industry or business realm, then you should seek help because you’re in denial. Today there are hundreds of different social media websites, and they go far beyond Facebook and Twitter to extend into business focused platforms, such as LinkedIn or Quora. You don’t have to be on multiple platforms. Just pick one and own it.
Networking Pro Tip: Find out where your industry or niche spends the most time online and focus on delivering value there.
- Become a Thought Leader
Why build a network when a network can be built around you? Becoming a thought leader within your industry is one way of doing this, and the blog is your tool to attracting the interests of your target market. You don’t need anything fancy. Just get signed up at Medium and write. Medium allows you to simply write, post a picture if you choose and hit Publish.
Networking Pro Tip: Find out about your target audience’s interests, aims and pains. Ask yourself, “What would be truly valuable to these people?” Consistency is key.
- Capitalize on Existing Relationships
Research has shown that we are never more than six connections away from anyone else in the world. And it is this theory that demonstrates just how important it is to capitalize upon existing connections.
Networking Pro Tip: Relationships should never be a tit-for-tat experience unless there is a blatant agreement in place for that. If you’ve provided value to those in your network, then an introduction through a connection should be easy to come by.
- Put on a Killer Webinar
One of the most effective ways that you can demonstrate yourself as a though leader is to put on a webinar. These are becoming very popular right now amongst small business owners because they build trust quickly. I definitely haven’t utilized webinars enough yet.
Networking Pro Tip: Give your webinar attendees a solid reason to connect with you after the webinar. Be this a discount upon your services or a free guide that is provided in return for some information, such as an email and name.
- Put on a Charity Event
Organize an event for people that believe in the same cause to come together. At a minimum, you’re helping someone other than yourself and that is always a good thing.
Networking Pro Tip: Partner with the local chapter of your non-profit and see if they’ll issue a PR statement on your behalf.