Discover how to cultivate professional connections that pay off for everyone.
I recently put out a call to my tribe. My bandwidth had reached its limit and a client needed additional help with various book projects. So, using my social network channels, I posted a request and inquiries flooded in. The client was pleased to expand her stable of freelance writers, my writer pals were happy to explore a new lead, but I was the happiest of all.
Making connections and being generous with my virtual Rolodex not only gives me a warm fuzzy feeling but also positions me — according to Malcolm Gladwell in “The Tipping Point” — as a connector. I’m a regular Paul Revere because I know just what doors to knock on!
Don’t discount the value and power of cultivating connections. Here’s how.
Stop … and flip through your mental contacts list. I get daily emails from LinkedIn and other online job sites, listing jobs that might be of interest to me. I also pause and look for gigs my friends might want to pursue. A job may not float your boat, but stop for a minute and think about who might dig it. Someone a big fan of Nordstrom? Send that copywriter listing to them. Did you work with an amazing project manager who is now looking for her next gig? Refer them to the lucrative one-year contract position you just scrolled through.
Join professional and interest groups on social networks. Opportunities are everywhere, but not all of us can see them. Be the eyes and ears for your friends, or at least an extension of their own network and networking. Chances are they’ll return the favor.
Set people up. While this approach is a tried-and-true dating strategy, it also applies to professional connections. Even if there’s no job in the picture, bring the various circles in the Venn diagram of your life together. I recently interviewed at a consulting company. A few months later, the HR director reached out to me. She didn’t have a contract for me but she dug me and wanted to grow her circle of connected women. Her East Coast energy immediately called to mind another friend of mine so I set up a coffee date for the three of us (OK, it was happy hour). We all got on like a house on fire and that HR director is now on the lookout for a part-time position for my friend as well as me.
If you take the time to develop your circle of friends, colleagues and acquaintances, you will become a human hub, connecting people to jobs and to each other. And I’m pretty confident you’ll experience a warm fuzzy feeling on the regular.