Imagine the following scenario:
There are two students. Student A is a 4.0 student, studies endlessly, and is at the top of their class. Student B is lucky to have a 3 preceding their GPA, but actively has conversations and connects with leading individuals in various industries, trying to help these people in whatever way he can.
Student A will likely go on eventually graduate school, and graduate with all sorts of degrees. He will then start looking for jobs, using his education to get his foot in the door.
However, Student B has already built relationships with the people that he is considering a career with, giving him an advantage over Student A.
The difference between Student A and Student B is the difference between perfecting your craft and surrounding people who are doing your craft.
How To Network Effectively
I’ve heard countless excuses when it comes to networking with people. Anything from “It feels sleazy and manipulative” or “That’s just not my thing” or “I’m not good at talking to people”.
What most people don’t understand is that effective networking boils down to one simple thing: Providing value.
At the beginning of August, I met a new friend and spent a couple hours into the night listening to him talk about his startup video company, ideas, and outlook into the future. I gave him pointers on how to network and meet people by cold contacting them through facebook, twitter, or email. A couple months later, he told me about how he had started working for a significant blogger and was getting plugged into various events in his area.
Providing value is all about helping the other person achieve their goals. It’s a cycle. The more resources and connections that you have, the more value you can provide to the people that you meet, and the better you will be able to network.
When I meet a new person, I approach it from a mindset where I want to help them. I listen to what they are working on, the areas they need help in, what their goals are and how they feel about their work. I listen not only to the words that they are saying, but what they mean.
Then, if I am able to help them, I will direct them to books, articles, or people. And if I don’t know enough to address what they need help with, I make a mental note to do some research and networking in that area.
Try it Out
If there’s someone that you’ve been following online for a while, whether it be their blog or twitter or youtube, send them a quick message (I read every email)! Let them know what their work means to you, and ask them any questions you may have, and try to provide value in whatever way you can!
Then share about it in the comments.