My first thought was a question; do you want quantity or quality?
If you want lots of business cards to load into your Outlook Contacts or LinkedIn, then there is an unlimited number of networking groups and events to attend that are offered for that purpose.
If you want contacts that you know well enough that they are willing to help you get the results you said you wanted, then you need relationships.
Relationships need time and commitment to develop to the level that they can be helpful to your needs. Here are a few suggestions for developing those relationships;
- Define the types of people that you would like in your network.
- Learn where these people are likely to meet and be there (events, associations, etc.).
- Introduce yourself to these people and get to know them on a both a professional and personal level by listening more than you talk.
- Do something nice for them frequently (compliments, send valuable content, respond to their blog, tweets, etc.).
- Meet in person at least 3-4 times a year (coffee, lunch, event, associations, etc.).
- Solicit their opinions on issues, making them feel important.
- Realize not everyone will respond favorably to your approach; don’t be a stocker.
Quality is more valuable than quantity because it takes more determination, perseverance and effort to develop a meaningful relationship.
What techniques have you found successful for adding quality relationships to your network?
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