I think we can all agree that having a strong professional network will benefit you and your business. Building your network may be something that gets you excited because you love meeting new people. Or, the thought of going to a business networking event may make you cringe because you are shy or introverted. 

That saying that your network is your net worth has a lot of truth to it, so wherever you fall on the extrovert to introvert spectrum, you will need to put yourself out there. 

Exchanging business cards is not enough

Jill Salzman ran a networking organization for 13 years. She knows a lot about networking and how to get results for your business. In her Substack post, “the connection game,” she shares a story about a woman who went to a networking event and was annoyed that the turnout was very small, just a handful of people. 

Instead of thinking this was a great opportunity to have substantive conversations with the professionals who were there, she was disappointed that there weren’t more people, as if more people would be a better use of her time and yield more potential leads. 

Salzman writes: “

Like most folks in business, she rushes around from event to event in an effort to find clients. The more meetings she attends, the more she can convince herself that she put the “work” in “networking” – even if she doesn’t see results.

Salzman says there is no way to make networking more efficient and building relationships takes time. 

I believe your goal should be quality over quantity. Having a deeper relationship with fewer people will likely lead to a better result for your business. 

Online networking is easier than you think

A lot of people ask me what they should do on LinkedIn. There are a bunch of “experts” who have all sorts of strategies that seem like a ton of work to me. If you enjoy engaging on LinkedIn, do a lot of it. If you don’t, stay focused and spend 15 minutes a day connecting, commenting, or sharing. 

You can create a master list of people you want to stay in touch with in a CRM or in Excel. Reach out to three people a day to create a cadence for yourself and stay top of mind with your network. This is so easy to do that you will likely do it. I find that when professionals make too big a goal, they don’t follow through and then beat themselves up for failing. 

My go-to networking and LinkedIn expert, David J.P. Fisher, shared this short video on how to create relationships on LinkedIn. I love his straight talk about being human and just having conversations, like you would offline. 

Think about it. We know how to do this as humans. Why are we overcomplicating it because it’s on the LinkedIn platform?

Fisher also stresses the importance of engaging consistently because building relationships takes time. 

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez 🇨🇦 on Unsplash