07 Jul How to expand your network

I spent almost 10 years of my professional life in relationship building. When I say relationship building, it means the expansion of the number of my friends, colleagues and clients. This is very important in a marketing practitioner, as well as entrepreneurs.

When I upgraded my mobile phone in 2011, I had trouble in transferring my contacts from my previous mobile phone unit due to some technical differences. I have realized that I already had more than 200 contacts stored in my phone! 

Now, what’s the value of networking with other people? How is it important to your life, whether you are a marketing professional or not? I have observed that more opportunities come to those who have a huge network of friends. There will be times that you’d need others for your project. Sometimes, you’ll need a helping hand or a friendly advice. I’m sure, if you are thinking of buying a property or car or a computer, you’ll ask your friends first. 

I like to share some tips how to expand your network of friends.

1. Add friends in Facebook and other social media networks.
You don’t have to add everybody in your Facebook account but at least add new friend once you have identified the person you’d like to add or asking you to add them. This will help you grow your network that you can influence to, whether you are an entrepreneur, doctor, engineer, sales clerk or a homebody. You can’t limit the opportunities once you unlock yourself in these social networks. 
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2. Have a personal calling card.
Invest in personal calling card and establish yourself in it. It’s good to have a calling card issued by your company but you can really express yourself in a self-published card. It works for you as a person, not as an employee. I printed my personal card with social media accounts and personal website. I want to promote my website even offline. 

3. Attend events and social gatherings.

What I am excited about attending seminars and similar events is that I learn and meet new friends at the same time. While in the event, grab the opportunity to meet people and build rapport with them. Be prepared with your contact cards and remember to ask calling cards from those you meet. 

4. Link your friends.
You’ll be surprised to know you and your friend have much common friends. And, it’s more fulfilling if you have linked your friend to another. When I was in an event company, I linked them with a friend who builds up the image of a non-profit organization and established a good cause for my affiliated company. It’s already an achievement for me. When someone is in need, feel free to recommend or refer your friends. Your friends will be happy if you referred them to others.

5. Volunteer and help others. 
Lastly, volunteer yourself for a good cause. I call this “planting seeds of greatness.” When you use your time, skill, talents and resources to something purposeful, you’ll be astonished with the rewards. I volunteered myself in hosting wedding receptions. That’s the least that I can do to help my friends in their memorable event. In my previous company, I volunteered to be the host of the corporate events. Doing that, I developed my public speaking skills.

Why Facebook and other social media sites became phenomenal? They know the power of connection. People will work with people, not just with a machine. Build up your network and enjoy the benefits. Take time to learn new things through other people and reap your harvest of greatness.

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