We’ve all heard about the need to network. In an increasingly competitive world, individual effort and talent may not always be enough. Having the right people behind us as we look for new careers, start our own business or simply develop our skills can make a difference between success and failure.
But networking isn’t (always) easy. Many of us are used to the traditional ways of networking; handing out business cards at events and connecting on Linkedin. To succeed as a networker, focusing on relationships and real connections should be the priority.
UpHabit, the Personal CRM app for thoughtful Super Connectors, is all about building strong networks. We’ve learned a thing or two in this industry, and created a simple guide to the 5 stages of networking.
#1 Build your Identity and Purpose
Networking for the sake of networking doesn’t help you or your connections. Handing out business cards, sending out messages, and inviting LinkedIn connections is thoughtless, and adds no value. That’s why it’s important to build your identity and purpose.
What are you looking for? Do you want to make a career change? Maybe you’re planning to start a new business? Or are you trying to become a thoughtful Super Connector? Whatever it is, you have to understand how to get there.
Building a personal brand, such as a strong reputation or a diverse skill set is a solid first step. Creating a strong online presence and communicating with individuals already can help lay the groundwork for the future.
#2 Identify Sources
The most important part of networking is finding the right people. More specifically, identifying the places where you can find these people. From coworkers, professional organizations, alumni networks, or social media, there are plenty of ways to meet individuals.
We’ve all heard the idea of Six Degrees of Separation: the idea that everyone is only six connections away from each other. It may not be scientific, but it highlights the fact that we’re all connected to some degree. Whether it’s a friend of a friend or a colleague of a sibling, figuring out the ways we can connect with others is the first step.
That’s why Super Connectors and UpHabit Introductions are so important. When there are so many places to meet people, it can be difficult to find the right ones. Super Connectors make it their job to connect others together and help them do great things. UpHabit Introductions makes it quick and easy to make introductions and become a Super Connector.
#3 Reach Out
Once we’ve set our goals, done our homework, and found our sources, it’s time to reach out and connect! This can come in a plethora of ways, including cold calls, emails, attending events, and introductions. Choosing the right option always helps when forming a professional relationship.
COVID-19 lockdowns have made it difficult to meet individuals in person, have coffee chats, and attend networking events. But on the flipside, it has opened the door for dozens of new online networking tools. From virtual conferences to video calls, the nature of networking has changed (luckily we’ve got a guide for that as well!).
#4 Follow Up
The most overlooked step of networking is following up and maintaining the connections you make. We’ve all been guilty of meeting someone, getting their contact information, and then never contacting them again. It can take a lot of effort to reach out to everyone we know, but the occasional email or social media interaction can make all the difference when creating a strong network.
A personal CRM, like UpHabit, can help you do just that. With easy sync with your address book and all your social media, UpHabit makes it possible to stay in touch with all your contacts. From Reminders to Notes, it’s easy to use features to make sure that following up and maintaining your new connections is the easiest part of your networking process.
Once you’ve built a diverse network of professional contacts, it’s time to become a connector! Connecting others is the key to turning a network into a community that can help everyone within it grow and succeed professionally.
Introductions are the best way to connect others; bringing two or more people together provides benefits to everyone involved and can build your reputation and value. But making introductions can seem like a daunting, time-consuming task for most of us. Finding the right connections, the right moments, and drafting the ‘perfect’ messages is a challenge for anyone.
That’s why we made UpHabit Introductions for iOS. Designed for thoughtful Super Connectors, it has all the tools you’ll need. From preset and customizable templates, follow-up reminders, and easy to compose emails, anyone can become a Super Connector.
The value of networking and connecting is difficult to overstate in our interconnected world. Communities have become the keys to success and personal growth. Tapping into the experiences, knowledge and networks of other professionals can be priceless, no matter where you are in your journey. This guide should help you build these unique connections and maybe even become the centre of communities yourself!