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03 May How do I grow and cultivate a real network?

Kevin,

In one of your webinars, you mentioned two types of networks: real and “acquaintance” (or something like that). I would like to know how to cultivate a real network. I don’t really think that I am relationship challenged. It is just the nature of my personality to be calm, cool and collected, and in the background. People don’t really gravitate to me. So anyway, I have 53 LinkedIn connections that span most of my life. But they are mostly acquaintances and they aren’t really people that engage in an equal give and take with me.

This isn’t a personal question. I’m more interested in the professional side. How to I create those professional relationships that can stand the test of time?

Karel

Karel,

You are spot on in your approach. Like I talk about in the Bootcamp, you want to grow your loose (btw- I like “acquaintance”) network so that you can have the best choices for your real network.

Be you – You are building relationships here – not entering into some quick, transactional situation. The goal is to find your true audience and for them to “know-like-trust” you. Do this by being yourself . The easiest, and more productive, way to stand out is by being you. Not to mention, you will find it infinitely easier than trying to constantly morph to what you think someone else wants you to be. Which, if hired for, is going to turn out to be a huge disappointment for you both.

OpenNetworker – This is absolutely the easiest way to rapidly grow your loose network with likeminded people who understand “give to get.” I’ve talked about getting quality out of quantity in the past, but it’s worth repeating. You can never assume who may be able to help you or be connected to someone who can help – or even hire – you. So, by broadening your first level connections, you simply give yourself more options to find the people who are your true audience. Focus on pushing your message out and having as many resources as possible to help spread your message…not restricting the flow.

Be a Hub – This is the best way to stand out in the job search. Good economy or bad economy, people need great information. When you provide this – as a hub – you put yourself in the spotlight with your audience (peers and potential hiring managers). The broader your network (hence, OpenNetworker) the greater the likelihood that your audience will get access to your information.  Plus, cultivation completely takes care of itself.  When you provide great information to your audience, it’s like a self-tending garden.  Very little maintenance is required.   Plus, by being yourself, they get to self-select when your message resonates with them…letting you know they want to be part of your real network.

Give, give, give – It’s a cornerstone to building successful relationships. This article shows you how you can do just that.

By putting this system to work, you will start to see networking as a by-product of you simply being you…versus some shoomzy, alter-ego you feel you have to assume to play the game. You get to be yourself and attract the right opportunities. Sounds like a much simpler way to find a job, right?

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