Even if you’re a confirmed introvert, reaching out to the people you most value in your network doesn’t have to be hard, scary, or time-consuming. And it’s something you might want to make the time to do if you want to keep your most valued connections alive and well. To help make this super easy, I’m offering two powerful tips that will give you compelling reasons to pick up the phone, write a note, or send off an email or social media message to one of your key contacts.
- Ask for help or advice. You read this correctly. I know (and teach) that networking is about giving first. And hopefully you’ve done plenty of giving. But there is something endearingly humble, maybe even powerful, about asking for help. And let’s be honest: very few of us have everything totally figured out in our lives, relationships, and jobs. In her wildly popular and powerful book, The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron stresses the importance of relationships and friends if you want to be successful as an artist. (And technically, that’s what all of us are. If you’re creating anything, whether it’s a profitable company or a painting, you’re an artist.) Surely you have a burning question or vexing issue that one of your valued friends or contacts could help you unravel. Get very clear on what that question or issue is. (Word of caution: this is not the time for sucking the life force out of anyone as you think out loud, waffle, or whine – it’s not therapy!). Then determine who in your network might have some solutions or at least be willing to listen and brainstorm with you. Contact them with a succinct, sincere, and humble request. You might be pleasantly surprised by how willing they are to help – and how flattered they are that you would ask them. I did this recently with my friend Sara and it was tremendously helpful. I was just plain stuck on a project and because she was observing from a distance and with clear objectivity, she saw the solution very clearly. Voila! And eureka! And hallelujah! My wheels stopped spinning in the muck. I was so grateful. Which brings me to my next tip…
- Offer congratulations or a few words of appreciation or support. This one seems so obvious, but we seldom take the time to do it. I recently read Bob Beaudine’s book The Power of Who: You Already Know Everyone You Need to Know. Great book. He writes about the “Who” people in his network and how to be a “Who” person in others’. This means being a person of value; one who regularly reaches out to others to say thanks, congrats, or you can do this! After reading Bob’s book, I contacted him on LinkedIn with a note of thanks for writing the book and a few lines about what I enjoyed most about it. (Guess what? He wrote back!) Similarly, I just reached out to my accountant to thank him for making filing my 2017 tax return so easy this year. (Have you seen the tax code? Egad! )I also called the guy who recently re-stained my deck and did such a meticulous and beautiful job. It’s so easy and takes just a few minutes. And it feels really good to be supportive and grateful. In my book, The Intentional Networker: Attracting Powerful Relationship, Referrals & Results n Business, I mention my version of “Who” people, only I call them Twenty Percenters – the twenty percent of your network who create eighty percent of the value in your world. Have you taken the time to identify yours?
On that note: Which of your Twenty Percenters or “Who” people could use a thank you note or positive and inspiring word from you today? And who could you reach out to for some advice or support? Take steps to reach out today! Five minutes a few times a week and you’ll be amazed at the results.
At your service: How can I be of service to your team, your conference participants, or to you personally? Contact me at patti[at]intentionalnetworker[dot]com and let’s brainstorm on ways we can work together! I do opening keynotes at conferences, interactive breakout sessions, workshops, group coaching, and more. Ask me about my new workshop on Attracting & Enjoying More Meaningful & Powerful Conversations. Not sure if I’m a fit for you? Visit my testimonial page to read what my clients have to say about me.
Thanks for sharing your expertise, Patty! I’ve had similar experiences reaching out to authors to thank them for writing their books and also have received warm responses. Here’s my method for reaching out to my “Who” people: I send a handwritten thank-you card every Friday. And I keep a spreadsheet to remind me when to reach out again. Look forward to connecting with you again.
Thanks for your comment, Judy! Authors love to hear from their readers – and it builds friendships, as we’ve learned. Love your system for staying in touch and keeping track of who you’ve written to. Brilliant!