Need tips on expanding your network? Read on!
Networking doesn’t have to be intimidating.
Let’s not sugarcoat it… networking can be a challenge. As Professor Tanya Menon explains in her article “3 practically painless ways to expand your network“, we are all creatures of habit. We tend to surround ourselves with a close-knit network of people. While this might not be our intent, it hurts us nonetheless.
A network of close friends and coworkers doesn’t help in the long run when you are in need of a new job, looking for new resources, or trying to expand your network within your current job. Your “strong ties” typically have the same ties as you, making it difficult to broaden your connections. It’s easy to stay close to home where you’re comfortable, but you’ll be able to expand your circle significantly by taking advantage of that business card you received that one time or reaching out to that friend of a friend.
Try these strategies
Even the smallest changes to your daily routine can open you up to new opportunities and new people, as seen in Menon’s Strategy #1. There might be people you typically avoid, but given the chance they could end up being an excellent addition to your network.
Strategy #2 notes that for many of us, our natural instincts are to close ourselves off when confronted with an uncomfortable situation, i.e. losing a job, having a baby, changing locations. But these are the times that we need networking the most!
The last strategy takes a simple response and turns it into a networking opportunity. Instead of simply thanking someone for help they’ve given, extend the conversation and offer to do the same for them next time, and vice versa. A simple “thanks” ends communication, but according to Menon, a quick “I look forward to collaborating again” will keep a conversation, and therefore networking opportunity, open.