9 People You Should Be Networking With Right Now
Relationships are one of the keys to success in life. The words “Oh, I have a friend/colleague/client you definitely need to meet,” should be music to your ears. But that first introduction isn’t always made for you so you’ll have to network.
Networking takes some skills, which we’ll Â address in a later post. But knowingÂ whoÂ to network with can sometimes be just as challenging. Here are thirty people you should be networking with right now.
1. Former Bosses/Employers And Colleagues
This is the reason why you don’t give the middle finger to the entire office on your last day. You want to be able to call some of these people a few months or years later and talk to them mano-a-mano.
2. Your Brother/Sister
So your sister is in marketing/PR and you’re in finance. Who could sheÂ possiblyÂ know that could benefit you? You’d be surprised. Network with siblings or family members, particularly those outside of your field. It willÂ expand your contact list and introduce you to unique people and opportunities. Business fields overlap in more ways that you realize.
3. Your Hairdresser/Dry Cleaner/Barista
Do people you see on a regular basis know what you do for a living? They should. Just by the nature of the businesses that they are in, these people are generally chatty, friendly, and great salesmen & women.Â Not only do theyÂ have the potential to provide you with referrals and new clients, they likely have clients that are exactly the people you want to be meeting.
4. The Social Media Community
You may have a listing on LinkedIn or identify your employer on social media sites, but are you actually providing any information about what you’re working on or interested in? Obviously you want to use discretion about the information you disclose but this will give others an opportunity to have that “Oh, you should meet so-and-so!” conversation.
5. Former Classmates
Remember the guy that lived on your couch in colleague or your best friend in high school? They might not all have become CEOs of companies you want to work for but they just might be a great resource for you. Networking is about expanding your relationship circles and introducing yourself to many different types of people.
Yours and your significant others’. Networking shouldn’t just be limited to work. Grow your personal social networks by sharing your interests with co-workers.Â What about what yourÂ spouseÂ does for a living? Who does he work with that might be able to help you? You have to approach networking with a completely open mind.
7. Church, Hobby Or Community Groups
These networks of people can be beneficial to you both socially and career-wise. Sharing your work experience with those that share a common interest provides opportunity for referrals or new clients. In turn, it cultivates your passions.
8. Your Friends
Do youÂ really know what your friends do for a living? Where do they work, who do they talk to on a regular basis? Is there a potential benefit somewhere there for you? Tag along to a gallery opening the next time your art dealer roommate invites you. Attend that presentation at the University your adjunct professor-friend keeps talking about. Having your friend present is an added bonus because they will make you feel comfortable in an otherwise foreign setting.
9. Your Kids’ Networks
This is a pretty general group of people that includes (obviously) other parents, school groups, teachers, even pediatricians. Eventually you’ll run out of “kid things” to talk about and the conversation will turn to “what do you do?” Don’t just provide the one-line “I’m a lawyer” response. Ask questions to show your interest in their work or talk about projects or practice area you’re involved with.
Networking isn’t just something you do at scheduled happy hour events once a month. It’s something you can (and should) be doing every day with the people you regularly see and talk to. Take advantage of non-conventional contacts and you’ll find your professional and social circles expanding to your benefit.