Your network consists of the people you know and who can connect you to the people who would like to know in the future. The individuals in your network should provide positive support and encouragement so that you can achieve personal and professional success. Whether you have friends on Facebook, followers on Twitter, connections on LinkedIn or one or all of the above, you have a growing and changing virtual network. Add to this network the friends, family, clients and colleagues that you stay in touch with by phone or e-mail and make time for face time with on an basis.
If you feel that your network needs work, you have recently made a personal and/or professional change that may require some retooling of your network or you may realize that you have a small network, outdated contacts or a pile of business cards stuffed in a drawer or rolodex , these three steps will give you a network that you can always work regardless of what changes you make in your personal or professional life.
Notice your Network – Who you are is reflected by the people who surround you. Are the people in your network reputable, well respected and highly regarded? Make time to review your network and distance yourself from anyone who can harm your reputation.
Nurture Your Network – Whether you keep your business cards in a rolodex, a shoebox, a cardholder or on a contact management system, review them on a quarterly basis. Before you delete the contact or discard the business card, ask yourself: Who is this? When and where did I meet them? Why have I not contacted them and given the opportunity would I contact them now or in the future? Keep only the contact information and business cards of individuals that you will contact immediately or that you want to do business with in the near future.
Nourish Your Network – Maintain your on-line connections by through daily or weekly updates of your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. Make a commitment to attend one networking meeting each month. Contact two active clients weekly and two inactive clients monthly. Connect with two friends or family by phone or e-mail daily.
Focus on what you can give your network rather than what your network can give to you. Remember if you don’t take care of your network, your network can’t take care of you.