Minimize The Need To Network: 5 Ways Maintain the Relationships You Have
Suppose you’re the kind of person that hates to network. Then, suppose you’re also smart enough to realize that job opportunities and other career milestones will only occur with and through people you know. Just to make this story realistic, you’re a bit lazy. (Not being insulting just reflecting reality for most people)
The first law of networking is that its dynamic and constantly changing as people come into and out of your life. It requires “replenishment” just to keep it somewhat the same size. Maintaining the same size may also not be your best strategy at the moment, you may need to be expanding it. Those things happen especially if you can foresee a day when you will be looking for a job.
What could you possibly do to reduce the need for so much networking?
Answer: Maintain the relationships you have now and rekindle the ones you’ve made in the past.
Let’s look at some of the things you could be doing to maximize your time playing games and minimize networking:
- Dig up long lost people – The best place to do that is on Linked In. It allows you to search for people by name and also but employer past or present. You’d be surprised at the people you can dig up from previous employers and college. It’s fun to find these people and they always appreciate being found. Catching up after you connect is the next step and when you do, you’ll discover how quickly that person is back in your orbit.
- Make a schedule – It’s too easy to let life and work sweep you into the next year without lifting a finger to stay in touch. You don’t have to spend an hour on the phone with each person you’ve ever met. With a bit of planning, you can email or text most people every 4-5 months which takes just minutes to do. Put an hour each week in your busy schedule to do your “maintenance” with your network. If a full hour feels like too much, break it up into 2 half hours chunks, at a time where you will feel like you can do it without stressing.
- Make calls to the “upper tier” – We all have people that fall into the category of spending more quality time. It doesn’t matter what the reason is. With these people, you need a more personal touch like a phone call. Use some of your weekly scheduled time to generate 1 or 2 calls to this group.
- Coffee, lunch or dinner – In the “upper tier” of your network are those people where you want to take the personal touch a bit further with some face time. Because these are events that require scheduling, travel time and time together, you won’t do too many of these but a couple per month should be what you shoot for.
- When you travel – If you have the occasion to travel for business or play, check who in your network is in the area where you will be going. Anyone you know will be flattered that you went out of your way to meet up with them when you are in town. This is especially good when traveling alone on business. You are often left to dine alone and this can boost dinner for both of you.
Over the years, I have found most people are fairly poor at holding up their end of maintaining a relationship. It’s not because they aren’t interested. It’s because it’s just too easy to let life intervene. Those same people will love and appreciate the effort you make to stay in touch.
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Brought to you by Dorothy Tannahill-Moran – dedicated to unleash your professional potential.