So, networking ….
Everyone is talking about it, most people agree they need to do it, not many seem to be able to do it properly.
So, let me tell you how to do it properly then …. I am kidding of course, I am mostly clueless when it comes to networking. This being said, there are a few trends I noticed in the past few months.
Let’s take LinkedIn for example. This is because I don’t really use anything else, so there you go.
I’ve always believed that it’s better to build a network with people you actually know and have met face to face. Made sense, why would you want to add strangers, right ? They don’t know you, so how can they possibly be of any use ?
With this approach in mind, my connections number stayed around 100 for a few years. I wasn’t really getting much value out of this approach as my connections were not that active anyway. The number of professionals in my network ( the connections of my connections ) wasn’t very high either.
Then, a few months ago I thought I would change this approach, because I wanted to get some value this time.
Value means seeing what other people talk about, learning about topics you never even knew existed, more jobs opportunities, maybe even some extra work on the side.
I started to accept invitations from anyone who bothered to send me one, even if they used the default message. Why would I do that ? I realised that I wasn’t using the power of a professional social network at all. In fact it wasn’t about who sent invitations, it was about their network. Even if their connections were private it didn’t matter.
What matters is that every time you write a message, it gets seen by your direct connections but also by their connections too. The number of people you would reach grows exponentially with every connection you add. Every update you make gets seen by all these people and there is a chance someone might be interested and get in touch. If you write an article, your audience is suddenly much bigger. It’s all about big data, isn’t it ?
The result of this approach is that I have been contacted more in the past few months then in the 5 years put together, so the results are clearly better. You get your name out there, more people hear about you, chances are you will make some quality connections who you can help or they can help you in your professional life.
In the end it’s a question of what do you want to get out of LinkedIn. If all you want is to keep in touch with a few people you know, that’s fine. But if you want to get your name out there, then become part of the network and connect. This is all that matters.