Networking has been around ever since people realized that they get help from people they have a relationship with. It used to happen at the saloon, or the open markets or at the club, (and it still does). Today however we often think of networking as adding someone new to our LinkedIn profile or maybe commenting on someone's post. In the world of social media and with the ease of connecting electronically and being visible, we get lazy and we rely on clicks instead of good, old-fashioned, face-to-face conversation. It takes work to maintain any relationship; when you put it on auto-pilot that's when it begins to wither and die.
Call it goal setting or a new year's resolution or whatever makes you take action but begin the work of creating deeper relationships in your network. Making an emotional connection with someone can’t be done (as easily) on the internet or even on the phone. Set up coffee or lunch or some other reason to sit down, look someone in the eye and ask them what is new in their life, what is keeping them up at night, how can you help them? I guarantee they will in turn ask you the same thing. That is your opportunity open up with more detail than you would online. Take control of your message and your brand and establish deeper ties.
Make it a point to reach out to someone that is (or was) important to you that you have not seen for some time. Pick your own frequency; once a week, once a month or whatever you can manage. Put a list together of all those people and start to invite them – it’s a process and with as busy as everyone is it will take some work but it is worth it. They will appreciate it and respect you for your initiative as well as your thoughtfulness. Make your network more than just the number of people that you are connected to electronically.
Mark Lewis is a marketing executive with broad experience across the marketing mix. He can be found at linkedin.com/in/markelewis/ he would be happy to connect with you but be prepared, he will probably ask you to meet him in person.