A strong and broad professional network is very important for a variety of reasons, including:
- Call on them when you need advice
- They can help you promote your personal brand
- Make you aware of professional development opportunities
- Provide support for promotions
- Inform you of new job opportunities
- And it can be fun to get to know others!
You need more than a lot of names connected to your LinkedIn profile to have a strong and broad professional network. You need to take the time to enrich the network.
One way to begin is to make a list of the top ten most important people in your professional network. Then do the following:
*Track Your Contact. Every couple of weeks, look at your list and make notes about what – if any – connections you have had with your list. Who have you not connected with recently?
*Evaluate the Quality of the Relationships. Do you need to enrich some of these relationships? If so, think about what you can do for the other person that will benefit them.
*Evaluate Your List. What’s missing? Too many internal people – or maybe not enough? Maybe you need to bring some new people into your top ten and move others out.
*Connect People Together. Perhaps you could organize a monthly lunch with a different set of two-three people in your network. This can create win-win networking opportunities for everyone.
*Make a Plan. Consider all of these ideas and implement a plan that you will update regularly.
Building a vibrant professional network may be one of those things that you think you do not have time for. But if you don’t invest the time, then when you need it most, you may find yourself out on your own – and that can be a tough place to be.