When I ask professionals why they network the most common answer is to expand their opportunities. These opportunities can be in the form of contacts, referrals, business opportunities, even job opportunities. This is what networking is all about. However, one of the most common mistakes I see when networking is many limit their opportunities by limiting their networks.
If you are truly looking to maximize your opportunities it is important that you look at the makeup of your network. Does your network lack diversity? Are you limiting your exposure and relationships and thus limiting the potential contacts, referrals, or connections you could be making? The quickest way to make your network more effective for you is to expand it. It is a numbers game. The more people you have the right reciprocal relationships with the more chances of success for you.
Together we can
I have been working with professionals for over 16 years in building and achieving results from their networks and while it always amazes me how many want to keep their networks small I get it. The key to success in any network is the relationships you have with those within the network. It is not about how many business cards you have been able to collect, it is about how many people you have true business relationship with. How many people can you call today and ask for a favor and not only will they answer your call, but are likely to help you?
With importance of relationships it is natural to self-limit the size of our network out of fear of not being able to maintain or invest in too many people. With the right systems and structure, we can build relationships with more people then we initially believe is possible.
TIM ROBERTS is the National Director of BNI United States