How to Boost Your Success Through the Daily Discipline of Networking

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We’ve been told that our network is everything in life. It makes sense that the larger our network, the greater our exposure to the world. Additionally, the people we surround ourselves with will directly impact our experiences and opportunities. 

So, why is it that we don’t prioritize networking as a daily, or even weekly, task or goal?

Perhaps we believe that networking is more of a serendipitous phenomenon, or a task reserved only for “networking events.” Perhaps we’re intimidated by the process of networking and feel it’s only for extroverts or sales professionals. As a result, we default to relying on the organic growth of our network through friends, family, and co-worker introductions. 

Well, it’s time to shift our approach to networking because the reality is, people play a part in our achievements and pursuit of goals. And, if done with consistency, it can get us a job, an opportunity for promotion, access to talent, or even a soulmate.  

High performers in the skill of networking understand the power of a large network. They realize the value it brings and have developed an intentional disciplined approach to networking. They’ve built specific time into their daily routine to network. 

The consistency and discipline in their networking routine results in a networking habit, which pays them weekly dividends in access to talent and opportunities. This habit fuels the expansion of their talent pool, which drives their learning and growth. 

They also utilize their networking skills to gain access to decision makers, which propels achievement of their goals.  

It’s clear that growing our network has tremendous positive benefits, but how do we begin to establish a fun, daily discipline to networking? 

Below are five tactical applications you can use to not only establish a daily discipline to networking, but make it fun and purposeful as you navigate the social waters of career and life.  

1. Understand the essence of networking

At its core, networking is relationship building in order to establish a connection with individuals with whom we can share, learn, and provide mutual benefit. Relationship-building can be accomplished by focusing on two networking vehicles, digital and social networking. 

Digital networking requires a platform, such as email or LinkedIn, and allows you to discover individuals with unique talent or career positions that you’re interested in. 

Social networking is live, human-to-human interaction that generally requires a specific event or environment.

2. Calendar block: Make time to network

Unless you’re a person who has two or three networking events each week, you’re going to need to build time into your daily schedule to network. This will build a foundation for daily discipline in your network routine, ultimately forming a habit. Select a time that works well for your schedule and create a 30- to 60-minute time block for focusing on this essential task.

“The true value of networking doesn’t come from how many people we can meet but rather how many people we can introduce to others.” – Simon Sinek

3. Establish your digital outreach

Your approach to networking via digital platforms is important to your networking success. One key to a successful approach is to ensure that your digital profile is up to date, engaging, and shows your value through its display of your experiences. 

Tell your story through hobbies, certifications, and career experience, and be sure to sprinkle in some personal history and anecdotes. If you’re concerned about how your profile looks, ask a close friend or family member who knows you well to point out areas that you should highlight or remove.   

Once you’ve polished your profile, create your outreach message. This message should be genuine, clear, and without tangential fluff, such as: 

“Hi Sarah, hope all is well. I noticed you [are skilled, have a background, hold a position] in “X”. I’m always looking to connect with interesting people in order to share and learn. Would you be open to connecting? My [background, skill, talent, role] may be beneficial to you [or your company] in the near future.”  

Remember, your approach isn’t about what you need, but what you can provide. Write it using this mindset to ensure your approach is genuine.

4. Do your research

Who do you need? What skills are you looking for? What goals are you trying to achieve? Networking should be strategic, so do your homework before reaching out to someone. Because of the many search features built into digital platforms, your approach to networking should be strategic and implemented with intention to gain knowledge, talent, or access to individuals.

5. Search out fun ways to network socially

Not all social networking must be conducted at “networking events.” Take a fun approach to the social side of networking and reach out to interesting people that you see every day. The local coffee shop or restaurant manager is a great place to start. 

Why? Because they know hundreds of people from all different walks of life with whom they engage daily. Once they’re part of your network and they know who you are and what you do, there may come a day when they say to you, “Hey, I know a person you should meet.” 

Your network contacts become your connectors. You can also become a connector for others when you introduce them to people in your network. 

Like anything in life, practice and consistency lead to experience and confidence. Establish your new networking discipline today, and in one month’s time you’ll see compounding growth and the positive impact on your performance that a large network provides.  

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