5 Tips to Expand Your Network
Some weeks I write about real estate. Real estate tips, tricks, advice, trends, etc. Sometimes I just write about life. This week I want to help you expand your network. If you are a business owner, a sales person, or someone who has just moved to town, these tips can help.
- Get active
Over a year ago, I joined Pure Barre. It just so happens that it is in my neighborhood and I told myself I had no excuse not to go try it out. Well, I love it. In fact, one might say I’m a bit addicted. I typically go at the same time and I see a lot of the same people. We socialize before and after class – mostly talking about how we can barely walk from the workout, but that’s beside the point. We bond. It creates a sense of belonging. I never intended to get business from working out, but conversations naturally gravitate toward what people do outside of the setting we are accustomed to seeing them. Here’s another thing I realized: People are watching you even if you don’t know it. They will assess your ability to, for instance, sell your house, by how committed you are to working out and how much effort you put in when you’re there. Get in shape and expand your network at the same time.
- Get charitable
A lot of us have some sort of cause that we are passionate about. For me, it is animals. Get involved with a local organization or charity. People will see your heart and that will go a long way in them wanting to get to know you and/or do business with you. Again, you have to be committed. You can’t say you’ll be involved and then only show up to half the meetings or not do what you say you’re going to do. Stick with it and you’ll not only be doing something you feel great about, but you will expand your network while doing it.
- Get talking
If you’re like me, once you are done “working” for the day, the last thing you want to do is talk. I’d much rather go home, pet my dogs, and read a book than go to a networking event or business gathering. However, you will never be able to reach the full potential to expand your network if you don’t actually talk to people. It is so easy to text or email and for a lot of things, that is perfectly acceptable, and even preferable. However, when you are looking to grow your business or make new friends, you must communicate face to face at some point. People are relational, even those that claim to hate people. We want to know and be known. Understand and be understood. The most effective way to accomplish that is to talk. Pick up the phone or get out and meet people face to face. Every time I dread going to an event but put my mind right before I walk in, I am always glad I did.
- Get social
How many of us have social media accounts? I would venture to say anyone that is reading this certainly does. Have you truly used social media to expand your network? I have connected with people on social media that I have never met in person nor have I ever had a personal conversation with them. A business owner I know gets a ton of business from Facebook. He does a great job engaging and connecting with people he has never met in person. Now, when I see someone in person, that I have never met but am connected to on social media, I introduce myself. It makes it much more comfortable to engage next time I see them post something and it can begin to create a deeper relationship which ultimately grows my network and can lead to a myriad of outcomes.
- Get connected
Lastly, so many of us don’t use social media to it’s fullest potential. If we are looking for it to help expand our network, it’s more than just sending connection or friend requests and accepting those from others. It is seeing who your network knows and asking to be personally introduced to them. I am a member of BNI, Business Network International. Each week we get to ask for a personal introduction to someone that can help expand our business or network. How much more powerful would it be if we already knew someone had a friend or associate that we wanted to be connected to and we asked them personally for an introduction?
If you are looking to expand your business or personal network, just commit to doing one of these and you will see an almost immediate impact on your life.
Michelle Froedge is a residential Realtor and Principal Broker in the Greater Nashville and Williamson County areas of Tennessee. “Mom” to four-legged fur babies, Tyler and Livvie, Auntie to Zelamie, she is a vegetarian and sings in her spare time. Michelle has lived in Nashville and Franklin since 1997 and has been selling homes since 2004.