Written by Jenny Blake
Networking. I know, I know. The word itself makes you shudder. Me too.
My blogs are the most public thing about me; I’m a closet introvert, preferring to spend vast amounts of time alone. I live alone, I work from home, and to recharge there is nothing I love more than reading in the morning, and doing handstands in the park in the afternoon. Alone!
That said, I enjoy great conversation as much as anyone and try to schedule a handful of coffees, lunches and dinners each week, along with group fitness classes like yoga and pilates. But overall, engaging with others usually initiates my 1:4 recovery ratio—for every one hour I spend connecting, I like to give three or four back to myself with privacy and quiet.
Why am I telling you this? Because in spite of my reclusive ways, I love people! I really do.
I love working with coaching clients one-on-one, I love the private Momentum community, and I love teaching and public speaking. Building high-quality, authentic relationships are the foundation of my business, and the reason I am now celebrating over four years as a solopreneur.
Today’s post kicks off a three-part series on the systems and strategies I use to stay sane when building relationships.
Whether you’re introverted, busy, or introverted and busy, this series will teach you how to build friendships that benefit you and others, without being sleazy, cheesy, or obnoxious.
A Note on Mindset
“Networking” title aside, the purpose of all this is really about making new friends, specifically of the professional variety. I don’t network with people I wouldn’t want to hang out with in real life.
My key philosophies on relationship-building are generosity, and quality over quantity.
I can’t stand being on the receiving end of someone’s “spray and pray” campaign, where I can see that I am just one target in a vast strategic effort for them to get somewhere or get something.
So don’t do that either! The year is now half over; now is a great time to spend a little time reflecting on who you want to meet and connect with over the next four months, and how.
People-Related Goals and Preferences
Identify your preferred approach to building relationships for where you are at this point in your life and career by answering the following questions:
- Who: What types of people do you want to connect with? Anyone specific in mind? Brainstorm a few exciting options for each of the following categories:
- Friends (local, global)
- Business/Career (local, global)
- Groups (professional, recreational, fitness)
- What: What are your goals? What can you give? What are you hoping to receive? (Support, advice, friendship, etc.)
- Where: Do you prefer to meet in person, over the phone, or connect through social media?
- When: What time of day and what types of events do you most enjoy talking with others?
- How Often: What is your natural, enjoyable limit within a given week of meeting/connecting with new people? Socializing with friends?
- Recharge: What helps you decompress after social interactions?
Networking is never about how many people you can reach, but about being smart and strategic with your time and energy.
Upcoming Webinar: Connect with Influencers
I’m excited to be co-hosting a live webinar with John Corcoran on How to Cold Email Any VIP on August 26 at 3pm ET.
John will cover the 5 things you must do if you want your emails to be read and responded to by VIPs you admire, how to go from getting your email opened to building a genuine relationship, and how to go from relationship-building to generating income. John will also share 5 of his best email templates you can use to connect with the VIPs you want to meet.
Stay tuned for Part Two, where I’ll share how to create routines around reaching out to others.
This article was sponsored by University of Phoenix. I’m a compensated contributor, but all thoughts and ideas are my own.
Jenny Blake is the author of Life After College and the forthcoming book The Pivot Method. She is a career and business strategist and an international speaker who helps smart people organize their brain, move beyond burnout, and build sustainable, dynamic careers they love. Jenny combines her love of technology with her superpower of simplifying complexity to help clients through big transitions — often to pivot in their career or launch a book, blog or business. Today you can find her here on this blog (in its 8th year!) and at JennyBlake.me, where she explores the intersection of mind, body and business. Follow her on Twitter @jenny_blake.