Your network can help you or work against you, it all depends on the level alignment between your network and your goals. If you are trying to get something done with a team, your network should reflect that. If you are looking for new opportunties, your network should reflect that.
Every book on sales, finding a new job, etc. stress the importance of networking, and rightly so. While is certainly easier for some than others, the validity to networking is no longer the question. The question you want to ask yourself is: who?
Over our lifetimes of participating with networks ranging from work, to family, to neighborhoods, to hobbies; we accumulate many contacts. There are significantly more effective and efficient ways to spread the word than reaching out to everyone you know, if you know your network.
Let’s go through a few hints, using the image in this article created from my personal email over the past year or so. Click on the image to blow if up larger.
- Respect your friends and colleagues. If you abuse their hospitality and trust, not only will you lose them, but you’re also done for.
- Don’t spend equal time with everyone. Some people can help you more than others.
- If everyone in a group knows each other, only spend time on only a handful of people. When everyone knows each other, the network is dense. Many of the orange and yellow clusters in the image are dense.
- Make a special effort with people that connect one or more of your groups.