How to grow a powerful professional network from scratch
Growing a successful network certainly isn’t an overnight task – it will take countless connections and conversations before you arrive at the place you want to be. But networking is one of the most powerful tools in business, so when it’s done correctly, you’ll find yourself surrounded by a group of like-minded professionals that can positively impact your company.
1. Get active on LinkedIn
As one of the most important business social media platforms, LinkedIn plays a vital role in networking. By forming new connections, interacting with posts and sharing professional updates, your network will grow through reaching other individuals in your sector. LinkedIn shares that users with a 100% complete profile are 40x more likely to receive opportunities.
2. Use Brella
Networking app Brella allows you to see, connect and message others attending the same events as you ahead of time. Scroll through the list to attendees – who may be attending online or offline – to discover a range of different people to connect with. Each person will have a small bio to explain who they are, what they do, and who they’re looking to connect with.
3. Ask and listen
When networking, we can often get swept away in personal goals, but ensure that it’s always kept a two-way conversation. Form connections with people to create mutual benefits, by asking questions about their businesses, rather than focusing solely on promoting your own. Showing respect for the other person’s interests will likely strengthen your relationship, and pay you back ten-fold.
4. Follow up every connection
It can be easy to form connections or swap business cards, for the lead to go stale. But by sending a follow-up email or direct message, you will strengthen the bond, opening more doors for future collaborations. It can also help to form long-lasting relationships that can be mutually beneficial for both parties.
5. Volunteer or serve on boards
Getting involved with professional organisations will allow you to grow your network organically, while surrounding yourself with individuals that are thriving in your sector. It will also boost your CV and strengthen your portfolio, which in itself will provide you with greater opportunities when networking with others.