Nurturing our network is something we all know we SHOULD do, but we often find ourselves not carving out the time to do so. Now, with all of the changes happening around us, it is important to find that time and see what is new with some of your connections.
Changes in the way people are working, the way people are are executing work, and overall changes in business strategies means new challenges and needs among different industries. Your organization may be searching for people to provide a solution, or you may be searching for business opportunities, and what better way to tap into a network that you have been building over the years!
Your network not only holds people that you know and trust but also leverages thousands of other connections that you may not know but they do. No matter your need, there is likely someone in your network that you can reach out to who can either help you or can connect you to someone that can fulfill your needs. So, why aren’t we doing so?
The people that you are connected to on LinkedIn are there for a reason. You are connected to them not only because you know them, but because you hold a relationship that you find valuable. Now, more than ever, people are available and willing to do what they can to help out, so don’t be shy!
Networking can often seem daunting, but it is necessary and essential if you want to find the right people. You can google tons of people to complete a task, but the best professionals are going to be the ones who are referred to you.
To start nurturing your connections, download your first-level connections. Once your spreadsheet with your connection is available, you will want to add three additional columns. Title these columns Nurture, COI, and Delete. This will allow you to organize your connections so that you can reach out appropriately, and also clean out your network as well.
Who you mark to nurture should not only be people who align with your business goals but other professionals that may provide a different sort of value to you. It never hurts to reach out to someone and have a short conversation, you never know what doors will open!
Your COI’s are about 10-12 people in your network that you know, like and trust, and you feel comfortable reaching out to for referrals and introductions to people in their network.
Your delete column is to mark people that you would like to remove from your network. This can be people that you don’t recognize or people that you connected with before you developed a strategy.
Once you are ready to start nurturing your connections, craft a short message that is concise and prompts a response. An example could be:
Hope you are doing well! It’s been a while since we have spoken, let’s catch up!
If you have a more specific message for the person you are reaching out to, then go ahead and say so! You can address your need, and then ask if they would be willing to have a conversation to talk further. Think of your message as an introductory way to schedule a call.
Nurturing your connections works. If you have a professional need, be sure to take the time to reach out to those who could help. LinkedIn’s purpose is to connect professionals, so utilize it!