I’ve been thinking a lot about networking lately. Last Friday I covered five truths about networking. Today, I have five questions you should ask about your network and how you’re managing it. I don’t plan to make networking the Friday thing, it just happens to be top of mind as I think about my goals and getting my message out. I’ve been asking myself questions about my netwrk for months now and thought it’d be good to share some of those questions with you. So here goes.
Is my network growing?
Everybody has their core circle that they talk to on a regular basis. But what about associates? The people you may not see or communicate with daily or weekly, but that you see from time to time at events of similar interest? They may even be friends of friends. Is this pool of people growing? If not, your network is stagnant. It’s also okay to open your close circle to new people. That only happens if you’re meeting with and reaching out to new people. More on that below.
Are the people I associate with moving me forward?
Better yet, who is in my core circle other than close friends I went to school with or grew up with? Do these people have similar general interest? Are they helping me get closer to my goals? Are they positive-minded and ambitious? Do they motivate me? Or do they bring drama, gossip, and negativity into my life?
Are the people I generally associate with smarter or further along in their careers than me?
There’s this saying to effect of if you’re always the smartest or most experienced person in the room, you’re not growing. You need people in your circle who know more than you in areas where you want to excel and who have just experienced more of life in general. They don’t have to be doing the same work as you, but from time to time you should feel compelled to ask them “How did you manage to accomplish X?” Or “What can you tell me about Y based on your experience?” Or “Do you know anybody that’s already done what I’m trying to do that I can speak to?”
Note: This doesn’t mean you need to only hang with people further along than you. Just don’t get complacent.
Am I keeping in touch?
I’m terrible at this. It’s so easy to get caught up in daily life that you forget to keep in touch with your circle and associates. It might be worth blocking off time on your calendar to reach out to people, whether it be family, friends, or new people you’d like to build with.
Am I getting out and meeting with current contacts?
Email is cool. LinkedIn is bawse. But meeting up in person is how real relationships are built. So in addition to blocking off time to reach out, block off time to catch up in person. Maybe even put some money aside and call it the catching up fund. Make your face and personality memorable.
If you can’t catch up in person, the phone is a great second option.
That’s all I got for today. Have you found yourself wondering about your network? What questions would you suggest people ask themselves?