Best 8 Tips for Networking Effectively

Why a strong network matters

Creating something of lasting meaning, impact, and value is rarely possible alone. We need to collaborate with others who share our beliefs, values, and vision.

Assess your current network

As a first step, you need to take a hard look at the state of your existing network. Most of us have networks that evolved organically instead of intentionally.

Power

How powerful is your network? What do the people in your network do? Are some connectors themselves?

Alignment

How aligned is your network with your strategic career path? Does it reflect your desired role in the right industry? If you’re leaping into entrepreneurship, do you have the connections and support that will make that endeavor more successful?

Diversity

The diversity in your network is essential for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, we tend to befriend and connect with people who are similar to us. Believe it or not, we also tend to have friends who are genetically similar to ourselves (how freaky is that?).

Freshness

When was the last time you talked with the people in your network? How often do you meet folks for lunch, coffee, or drinks? Do you socialize with people on a personal level, or do you try to leverage them like tools?

  • Create a list of people from your network you would like to stay more closely connected with (Linkedin buries this, but you can export your data, including your connections).
  • Create a spreadsheet as a simple relationship management tool. Put names in columns, other relevant info (e.g., who they are, how you met, what they do, etc.), and then have columns to track when you last contacted them and how (e.g., to say hello)
  • Identify a small subset of people you want to meet for coffee, lunch, or drinks physically. Schedule time with them.
  • Set up video chats or phone calls with another subset of folks who live far away from you.
  • Send a “Thank you” to people who truly made a difference in your life. I know that we sometimes feel too shy to say it in person. It’s more comfortable with time and distance. I’ve sent thank you notes to professors, bosses, and mentors from my past. It feels good to acknowledge them, and they seem to appreciate the gesture too.
  • Share a relevant article with another subset of people (e.g., a research article on clean energy)
  • Simply say, “Hi, I was thinking about you the other day. I was wondering how you’ve been doing?” to another group of people

Bond

How close are you to the people in your network? How willing are they to help you out? How often do you help people out? Are they comfortable introducing you to other valuable individuals in their network?

Invest in your network

I hope that this has inspired you to spend more time cultivating your network. It is one of the best investments that you can make, both for your professional and personal life. My network has enabled a great deal of my success over the past 20 years.

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Edward Gorbis

Edward Gorbis

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Helping ambitious immigrants and first-generation leaders thrive in business and life. CEO of Career Meets World.