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Effectively Connect and Grow Your Professional Network

2 min
networking  ✺  leadership  ✺  management  ✺  career

A staggering 85% of professionals believe networking is crucial to their career growth.

The power of networking lies in its ability to open doors for you to opportunities, from job offers to partnerships, mentorships, valuable insights and experiences.

However, for many of us networking doesn't come naturally and reaching out to others feels dreadful.

The fear of rejection looms large, with thoughts like, "What if they think I'm only using them?" or "What if they're too busy for me?"

On the flip side, some overcome this hesitation but end up firing away generic, impersonal requests, which miss the mark, erode trust and fail to create meaningful connections.

I've been there myself. The mere thought of networking felt sleazy to me, making me cringe.

Reaching out, even when I saw a potential for mutual benefit, seemed daunting. Would I come across as insincere or opportunistic? What if they don’t respond? What if they reject my request? These reservations and fears held me back.

The consequences? Lost opportunities, diminished professional growth, and isolation from enriching relationships and collaborations.

To gain a clearer perspective on the art of networking, I reached out to my friend, Alan Stein. Alan, is Founder, CEO & Chief Accelerator at Kadima Careers - and as part of his role empowering people to land great jobs, has extensive experience in this area.

Here are four invaluable tips he shared with me to effectively connect with others and grow your professional network:

1. Reengage your loose ties - reach out to high school friends, college buddies, people that you have worked with 2 or 3 roles ago.

2. Leverage common bonds to build new relationships. If someone went to the same school as you, worked at the same place as you, lives in the same location as you. Bam - you have a commonality that can open the door to building a new relationship.

3. Every time you meet with someone, thank them for their time and offer to help them out. Even if they don’t take you up on it, this gesture will build the relationship through the power of reciprocity.

4. Help others out - when someone comes to you and asks for advice in their career or life, and you can help, give back. It will help others and make you feel a hell of a lot better yourself.

Networking is undeniably pivotal in today's world and just like any skill it requires practice for us to get better at it.

PS: Embark on your networking journey today – why not start with following Alan? He shares tips like the above every day here on LinkedIn.