WooHoo Community! I am honored to have 10,000+ people following me on LinkedIn. I was recently asked "Drew, how did you do that?" So, with that, I decided to share my Top 10 Tips for Successful Network Growth!
DREW's TOP 10 NETWORKING TIPS!
1. Be Yourself
In life, there are people who genuinely care about you and they are your ride or die crew until the end. Then, there are people who are for whatever cause you are for at any given time in life and the other are the people who are for whatever it is you are opposed to in life at any given time. You attract different people into your network as you evolve and you will attract the best people once you learn to show-up 100% as your authentic, genuine self.
2. Know Your Talent
In my faith, we talk about spiritual gifts and unique talents as a blessing. Understand what your special talent(s) is and harness it to its fullest potential. Some of us are great leaders, managers, teachers, care takers, advocates, photographers, writers, etc. Know what you are good at and dive deeper into your gift to see if you can combine business and your talent. People love passionate, knowledgeable people, so don't be surprised when you attract interested people who want to know you at a deeper level. And on a money making note, the future of our workforce will be highly specialized, so get in early and develop your talent!
3. Diversify Your Network
In life and business, we are all interconnected. I've seen companies struggle time and time again via death by vertical where information does not transfer over and time is wasted trying to replicate things when solutions are readily available. Diversify your network and meet other leaders or managers in industries that are outside of your norm. Chances are you'll learn that there might be ways to collaborate on things to help your organization grow.
4. Join a Committee or Board
Building on network diversification, serving on a board or executive committee is a great way to meet other people who are genuinely engaged in life and business. These people are seeking ways to find solutions vs. others who might be more problem focused using up hours of life on wasted emotion. You do not have to be a CEO to serve on a board or executive committee, but you do have to have the courage to know your worth and to ask your senior leaders if they will sponsor you as a representative. Joining boards is also a great way to earn trust with C-level leaders to build lasting partnerships if you are in a sales role...
5. Don't Sell People Stuff, Deliver Value
I get hit up on the daily with canned email responses from people who know nothing about me or what I do. If you send things to people, have an understanding of their role, if they can make a decision, and if your offering is relevant to them. If you have a 10X solution per your generic message without a website and client testimonials, good luck! People who make decisions want to know how you can help them, what results you've delivered, and why you are interested in their organization. One of the biggest deals I closed was through #4 above and by delivering value across every touch point from the initial email through negotiating terms. Remember, it is about your customer, not your sales quota.
6. Be Mindful of Your Platform
There is a difference when you have 500 of your closest customers and friends on LinkedIn to hosting the equivalent of a small town like I do today with 10,000 followers. When I worked for a global brand, my mentor gave me this advice "While your boss wants X and is saying this, the company needs this and is doing this." There is a big difference in your wants at a local level and the needs of a larger platform. We all want to share things in today's digital era, so ask yourself, do you need to share this before you post it and how will your message impact those who read it. Today, we are drowning in an information overload with endless scrolls. As your platform evolves, your message may need to be broader. You can still use a local photo from a local event, just be sure to craft a bigger narrative on how this impacts leadership or society as a whole. Be mindful of your platform and the impact your communication has on others.
7. See Who Viewed You
In the settings section on LinkedIn you can opt to let others see that you viewed their profile or be the mysterious person who creeps on profiles not showing your face. The reason why I prefer showing my profile is that in return, I can see when others have viewed my profile. Typically, I send them a connection request. Don't overthink connecting. If they viewed you, there's a reason why, so why not connect? If they don't accept, keep it moving!
8. Build Your Own Website
Securing your name online is important today because it is the first thing that shows up in a Google search. I always advise clients who are on the leadership track to secure their first and last name via sites like www.GoDaddy.com While you don't have to use it right away, you have it for the time when you are ready to launch your book, product, or run for office. Reputation management is key to growing and building your brand. Build your own website to let others see your portfolio and aspects of your life that you like to feature. On my site, I also feature my hobby of amateur photography because I love re-visiting images that bring joy to my life that are focused on people, places, and positivity. When you search on sites like www.Google.com you will see that personal websites and LinkedIn links are at the top. Claim your name and build a fun site today!
9. Show Up Strong
Networking events can be stressful even to the most experienced networkers. We are all running fast in today's connected society, from meeting to meeting or family health issue to the boardroom, time waits for no one. When you meet others for the first time, first impressions matter and they do count to how people perceive you psychologically. If you know you are not at your best and need to do some self-care, that is more important than showing up to an event in a panic attack. Show up strong, cut out the excessive drinking just to fit in, be mindful of others, listen more than you talk by asking the right questions, and be yourself.
10. Enjoy What You Do
My network is amazing! I get to see people from Google testing autonomous vehicles to organic food brands changing the way we think about food to elected officials shaping the landscape of our nation. In every group, I see people who truly enjoy what they are doing and it shows. If you are in flux or not enjoying your work, spend some time with a recruiter and explore the different jobs, cultures, and sizes of organizations out there until you find your fit. Remember, you are never too old to start something new or to learn something. The challenging times plant the seeds for our growth and through faith, we continue moving forward until we find the next thing we enjoy doing.
Keep moving and keep growing! I hope my Top 10 Tips help you or someone you know grow their network to find meaningful connections and conversations in order to make a positive impact as business leaders today!
Above everything, focus on building your inner-strength and looking after your mind, body, and spirit. While networks can come and go just like a great job, you truly are 100% special and valuable to this world. Do you!