It’s taken me a long time to realize the true importance of having a network.
Partly due to the fact that I was stubborn and would rather not believe that my professors were correct.
And partly due to the fact that I didn’t have one.
Over the past six months, however, I’ve seen my network grow. The best part about networks, is that growth seems to happen overnight. You start with one “contact” and then it’s two… next thing you know, it’s four and then ten and then fifty people.
Seriously, the more you network, the more your network grows.
It’s amazing what things can get accomplished when you have this network.
The absolute hardest part is reaching out to people and starting the conversation. You might feel awkward and weird asking seemingly strangers questions and getting help and advice, but before long, you’ll have established a great connection.
Some perfect ways to form networks:
(1) Talk to every one. Whether it’s the person standing in line with you at the grocery store, or your neighbor that you’ve known for years. Open up and share a little bit about yourself (obviously, please do not give away your address to strangers in the grocery store… that won’t end well). You really never know what you might be able to get out of the relationship AS WELL AS what you might be able to contribute.
(2) Pick up the phone and cold call successful people. I’m sure almost everyone has thought to themselves at one point, “She is so successful working with XYZ Inc., I wonder how she got there!” Call and ask for advice! TRUST ME IT WORKS.
(3) Go to events!
Here is the perfect example of networking in action.
Remember how I was recognized in an airport? The girl was a student from GW and we stayed in contact (thanks to Twitter). After break, we met for cupcakes and talked and got to know each other.
Fast forward to today… She invited me to participate in a business event at GW: Business Redefined sponsored by GWWIB.
The event was great and all about business today and how to be successful. Speakers and panelists alike provided participants with great advice and insight to various industries. The panelists were quite willing to meet and shake hands and exchange business cards with any interested student.
I also had the opportunity to share my story with College Prep with all sorts of students. I left the event with new friends, new contacts, and a thicker network.