Written by Temi Onanuga
An Excerpt from The Connect Effect
Building Strong Personal, Professional, and Virtual Networks
by Michael Dulworth Berrett-Koehler
Building your network
Map your networks. Try these methods:
Write a short memoir about your family, classmates, professional colleagues and
others who influenced you.
Use your address book to make a tree diagram that shows how the people in your world are interconnected. Note how you met each person.
Create a spreadsheet, by hand, with a spreadsheet program or with a Web-based tool, that lists people’s names, occupations, the dates of your most recent contact with them, their areas of expertise, their birthdays and the names of their spouse and children.
Using the information in your map, categorize each connection: Is he or she a family member or good friend? An acquaintance? Someone whose business card you just found in your wallet? Look at other factors, such as each contact’s experience, accomplishments, and whether he or she has a personal network. Decide which contacts you’d like to get to know better.
Make a Plan
To build your network, identify people with whom you want to establish relationships.
The best way to meet them is to ask others to introduce you. Your friends, family and colleagues may know people you wish to meet at other companies or with particular expertise. Follow introductions with a specific request or offer to help.
Relationships take time to develop, so be patient. Your contacts may have business or family commitments.
Watch the clock and respect their time during your conversations. Show them they can trust you. Keep your word and do not gossip. To develop relationships beyond the superficial, talk about your interests. Stay up-to-date in your field so you can have meaningful conversations.
Do your contacts favors, and be available when they need you. Respond promptly – within 24 hours – to members of your network.
Conferences and meetings are great opportunities to expand your networks. Share ideas and introduce people you know to others. Don’t just distribute business cards; this does not foster deep relationships. Instead, conduct honest, face-to-face conversations, in which you stay engaged and focused. Relate to others through your common interests.
Renew friendships and make sure you have everyone’s current contact information.
Networks require constant nurturing. Contact a few people in your network every day to keep it alive; however, don’t be afraid to call people you met a year ago.
People associate certain images with brands such as Waitrose, etc. You too have a b