Building your network

connecting

We all love to connect with great people. Wether it is to share our thoughts, give our opinions or simply feel connected to the rest of the world, human nature leads us to search for connections. With a lot of time and patience, we can build a great professional network that will be nourishing both personally and professionally. What tools do you use to build your professional network?

The two obvious social networks are Facebook and Twitter. With a personal profile and a business page, you can get to know a lot of people all around the world. But don’t you feel those two sites can be a bit impersonal? Nothing annoys me more than receiving an obviously prefabricated direct message. And what about buying followers? It sounds pretty much like a shallow shortcut to me. Still, these sites are a good way to advertise your products, receive feedback from your customers and to connect with fellow business owners.

Within the social media realm, I’m also a fan of LinkedIn. This site is where posting your résumé online can mean a breakthrough in the advancement of your career. Link with contacts, groups and other companies. Browse through job postings. Get recommendations from colleagues, service providers, business partners, fellow students or teachers. This is also a great site to promote your business and to get pertinent information on current news, tips and trends.

Enough about social media. What about meeting people face to face? Within the last decade, it seems that we forgot the importance to do so. There are plenty of ways to meet new business contacts. The chamber of commerce of your area, training workshops and breakfast meetings are traditional examples of face to face networking. But why don’t you get outside the box and challenge yourself? Back business cards in your pocket and attend charities, school plays, yard sales or french classes at your community center. Next month, I’ll be attending my first TED event in Maui. I see it as a great opportunity to network with people from different fields.

While you are shaking new hands, don’t forget to smile, not only with your mouth but also with your eyes. The greatest business card you have is your attitude. When making a good impression on others, you open the door to good word of mouth, the most powerful of networking tools.  Your personal touch is what will distinguish you from others when you build your professional network. I lead by example, try following me on any social media site. I promise never to send you a canny message and to personally answer your questions as soon as possible. Go ahead, try me. Or meet me face to face and shake my hand. I promise you a smile and great conversation.

 

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