Here are a five thoughts for ways you can expand your network, help others and benefit from building personal and professional relationships in the coming year:
1. Give the Gift of Introductions
Introductions are gifts you give people by connecting them to one another. The more people you know, the more gifts you can give. These gifts not only help others, they help keep you relevant and valuable too. When you meet someone new, think of ways you can be helpful to them. Introduce that person to someone who could be helpful or someone they should know for mutual benefit. If someone offers to make an introduction for you, take them up on it. Meeting new people through introductions is an excellent way to meet new people and expand your network.
2. Get to Know People With Whom You Spend Time
While you may not think of your yoga class as prime time for networking, you’d be surprised at what can come from saying hello to people you see regularly. I’ve forged great friendships at my barre class with instructors as well as fellow participants that have been both personally and professionally valuable. Make the effort. Say hello and break the ice. Get to know the members of your community. You may be meeting a great future friend or professional associate.
3. Share Your Ideas and Ask Others for Their Suggestions
We all learn from one another. That’s one of the reasons meeting new people is so valuable. New people provide new perspectives, ideas, connections and opportunities. It’s up to you to make the outreach and ask for other people’s thoughts and suggestions. At the same time, share: share your experiences, book/movie/song tastes, restaurant or travel recommendations, health care providers, and ideas. This information exchange is what helps uncover common interests and therefore helps knit stronger relationships. Stay current with what’s happening in the world and pass along what you encounter to those who you know might be interested or benefit. Share and learn.
4. Update Your Social Presence
Refresh your LinkedIn profile, add to your Instagram account, post something inspirational on Facebook. Whatever social media you enjoy, make sure it’s current and up-to-date. At minimum, your Linked In profile should reflect your current job and role. Include some key terms describing your skill set so others can find you. You may not be looking for the next role, but make sure people can find you and bring you opportunities to consider, if not for today, perhaps for the future.
5. Create an Advisory Team
Who do you go to when you need help or advice? It likely depends on what kind of help you need. Your friends may offer parenting or relationship advice and your family likely offers emotional support. But think of other issues you may face, and who is on your team to help you. Who are the three wisest people you know who can help in times of need for career counseling, inspiration or life advice? If you don’t have this ‘advisory team’ yet, actively think of your current relationships and work on creating one. Meeting new people provides opportunities for finding additional mentors, counselors and advisors. It doesn’t have to be a formal relationship, although it may become one especially in a business setting. Or it may develop as a close friendship. It’s up to you to build your team.
Wishing you a joyful day and an amazing year ahead!