Whether you’re a writer, a publishing professional, or in any other job or field, you’re probably going to be networking at some point. These days we do a great deal of networking online; but there are still the old-fashioned ways of building networks: face to face. You may be at a conference, a cocktail party, or industry event where you have the opportunity to meet people who can become part of your “network.”
What are the best ways to bring people into your personal and professional networks? These tips apply to Twitter, Facebook, conferences, and every other networking situation.
1. Focus on relationships.
The strongest network is made up of real relationships. Treat people like people—not as a means to an end.
2. Be genuine.
People can tell when you’re trying too hard to make an impression or be a salesperson. Be yourself.
3. Be interested in others.
Ask questions. Show your enthusiasm for their projects and interests rather than just talking about yours.
4. Give more than you take.
Freely share information, resources, and contacts. Offer to help others whenever you can.
5. Network with long-term goals in mind.
If you’re thinking short-term (e.g. “I need endorsements for my current book”) you’re more likely to come across as needy and grasping. But if you’re thinking long-term and big-picture, you’ll be properly focused on building relationships and expanding your network of friends and contacts.
6. Promote others rather than yourself.
Always be quick to put in a good word for others who warrant it. Speak kindly and positively of other people, and use your own resources to promote them when appropriate. You’ll gain a terrific reputation as someone on whom others can count.
Using these strategies will help you build a strong network full of people who are genuinely on your side, part of your “tribe” as Seth Godin would say.
How strong is your network? Do you use these strategies? What are some other tips you can share for building strong networks?
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