“Don’t talk to strangers!”
That was the advice we all received as children and many of us will find ourselves saying those words to our own offspring. No one told us when to start talking to strangers again, 21? 30? 40? We have had to figure that one out on our own. As professionals and communicators we need to not only talk to strangers to build our network but we need to talk to the right strangers to build a robust, meaningful network.
You only need a small network. 25-50 people can get you what you need. There are essentially three levels of networking that really matter: a friend of a friend of a friend. That means that the friend of a friend of a friend of a friend (4 removed) won’t do much for you. Further, if you want to build a meaningful professional or personal network, you need a warm introduction by someone. That fourth or fifth removed “friend” won’t get you places.
Other great advice that I have obtained over the years, and wholeheartedly try to put into practice is:
- Your network is your critical asset; your network equals your net worth
- Just be nice
- Communicating is about listening more than talking – have to admit to having trouble with this one!!!
- You can disagree without being disagreeable
- Don’t ask, don’t get
- Sometimes great ideas come when you’re not thinking about work
- Kick fear to the curb
- Work with people who have intellectual curiosity and a sense of humour – I am very lucky to be able to do so
- Learn how to say NO – you will miraculously clear your calendar for more important things – this is so liberating but has taken me forever to implement
- Rethink your assumptions – you know the old adage….
- Work hard, work fun and take more baths.
That’s right: take more baths. Some of the best advice is the simplest.