Gayle Hallgren-Rezac co-author Work The Pond!
We recent taught a session on How to Build a Network Of Depth, Breadth And Reach to a group of young professionals. On the screen was our Three Years to 1000 Plan slide:
Go to one event a week. Meet seven new people. Do this for one year and you’ll have over 300 new contacts. Three years later, you’ll have increased your network by close to 1000 people. Wow!
A young woman in the audience put up her hand and said, “I’m really too busy with work. I plan to build a network later—when I need one.” Our two-word response? “Too late.” When you need a network, you really need one.
With the recent news of Bear Sterns and other financial meltdowns and a roller coaster economy, people are starting to get anxious about the job market. Unfortunately there is no quick fix for someone who hasn’t built a strong, mutually supportive network—one that is based on Positive Networking®.
Plan ahead for the next downturn—it will surely come. By simply being more active you’ll increase your odds of making amazing connections . It’s time to start your Three Years to 1000 Plan:
1. Make a commitment to go to one event a week — and not exclusively business events. Join a friendly hockey league, go a wine tasting or volunteer.
2. Google “calendar of events” in your area. Check out www.meetup.com and Craigslist for events. Search out opportunities to volunteer. Are there alumni events you should be involved in? Universities and colleges have tons of events open to everyone. Is there an election coming up in your area? It’s a great way to get involved and meet people. Finding cool events and interesting organizations takes time, but this sleuthing can be very rewarding. You’ll find amazing opportunities you never knew existed!
3. Once you find new events and opportunities, involve your friends and business associates. Include acquaintances, those people you wouldn’t invite out solo.
4. Become The Connector. In The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell talks about the power of Connectors: “Six degrees of separation doesn’t mean that everyone is linked to everyone else in just six steps. It means that a very small number of people are linked to everyone else in a few steps and the rest of us are linked to the world through those special few.”
Here are some examples of what you can do:
If there’s “shore cleanup” at a beach in your area, get a group to join in. Organize a place where everyone can meet for brunch or beer afterward the event. Invite people you meet at the event as well.
If it’s a wine tasting at a restaurant, invite a diverse group of people. Everyone pays his or her own way but you are the hub that connects everyone.
Good Cause Connector
Here’s just one example of getting involved with a great group: Harry Rosen’s Spring Run Off for prostate cancer cure. Consider volunteering for next year’s run. Or Run for the Cure. These are fantastic ways to build great connections while making a contribution.
Three years later…now about those one thousand new people in your network? It’s not just that one thousand; you are one handshake away from each of their networks. That’s one amazing network!
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