If I only knew this sooner!
We often hear about how important our network is, and how we should work so hard to build it. However, once we have it, we do all kinds of things that kill all the hard work we have put in.
If you are interested in being successful and cultivating a network that will work for you, then you must be aware of these seemingly harmless network killers.
There are certainly more than 5 Things That Will Kill Your Network. But these are the top 5 that most don’t consider and can often be the most harmful.
5 Things That Will Kill Your Network
Killer 1: Email while walking around your office. Perhaps you’ve never paid attention before, or maybe it’s something that bothers you to no end. Regardless, the next time you are at work, take a moment and count how many people scurry around going from one meeting to the next with their head down buried in their phone.
I know that when asked why people do this, the answer most would give is, “I’m so busy, it’s the only way I can catch up on my emails”.
Look, no one is discounting the importance of you keeping up with your work, but this kind of behavior isolates you from engagement with others.
Some of the most valuable networking touch points are those quick moments in passing. Those small opportunities to meet and talk to those you meet at random as you navigate the halls of your office is very important. These moments vanish when you have your face buried in your phone.
Look up and use these small commutes around the office as a way to enforce your network. Smile, greet and engage with others.
Killer 2: Not engaging with social triggers. I know all those social media triggers can get a bit annoying. Like this, endorse that, congratulate, thank and all kinds of other digital engagement can become very daunting.
By choosing not to engage in these triggers, you miss out on a network touch point. This is probably one of the easiest ways to engage your network. It is very passive in terms of two-way communication. You can like, share, and endorse easily without needing to commit to a lot of time.
Why is this important? it’s important for the same reasons companies like Coca-Cola put their brand on everything. The more you see a particular brand, the more on the “tip of your brain” they are.
Think of these social triggers as your way to keep your brand (YOU) in the minds of others. How do you do this? It’s easy. The next time you are on Facebook and you get an announcement that one of your connections has a birthday, wish them a happy birthday.
Take a couple extra seconds and turn the generic birthday wish into something personal.
Write a note and say something simple like “Wow how time flys! I hope you have an awesome birthday!”
The next time you are on Linkedin and you have the opportunity to endorse one of your connections for a skill, take it. Now don’t go overboard and endorse the same person for 8 skills all at one time. You want this to be natural, and not forced. Pick a couple contacts each day to engage with.
Other things you can do to engage in these social triggers is to comment on a post, like or share something they show interest in. All of these things take a little time, but over time can go a long way.
There are always reasons for employees to congregate togeather and socialize. Some of these events are planned out and promoted. Others are ad-hoc and a spur of the moment. A get togeather to wish someone a happy birthday or celebrate 15 years of service are opportunities that should not be taken lightly.
If you choose to pass these opportunities up in order to “get more work done” it will be noticed by many and perceptions about you will be formed. You may, in fact, be too busy to attend these type of gatherings, but being a team player, and being perceived to work well with others is a crucial ingredient in your career progression and success.
Going to these events and sitting quietly in the corner not engaging anyone will not give you the positive credits you are hoping for either. You should not only attend but smile, stick out your hand and engage with others.
If you are truly too busy to attend any of these events you should probably have an honest conversation with your manager about your workload.
This can happen any number of ways, and we don’t often think about it when it does. When was the last time you were on Linkedin or Facebook and actively sought out ways to help one of your contacts. Perhaps someone needs help, or asked a question, did you provide an answer if you happen to know it?
Now, think back on a time when you were on Linkedin, or Facebook asking for feedback, or help with something from others? If you like me you probably can recall these cases much easier.
There is nothing wrong with asking others for help, but you must always keep your network in mind. Always asking others to help you without reciprocity is a sure fire way to burn your network bridges.
This does not only go for your social media networks but your coworkers, friends, and family too. This should be a sincere gesture as well, your network can see right through any shallow attempt at a quid pro quo.
Killer 5: It’s all about yourself. Well, what else is a network for? We all know that a network is an asset, that can be tapped into to help and be helped. The last thing anyone in your network wants to hear all about is you.
Communication with your network on a regular basis is what keeps your network viable. It’s important to remember however that communicating with the intent to build a relationship is the goal in any meaningful network. A relationship is a two-way street.
If all you do is talk about yourself and show little interest in others, this relationship will be superficial at best and your network will be very fragile. Instead, focus on building a solid relationship by giving back to the relationship in the form of interest in others.
Listen to those in your network. Find out what their interests are, what they are working on, what challenges they are facing and what you can do to help.
You don’t have to kill your network
Your network is yours, it should be nurtured, cared for, and cultivated carefully over time. This will take some work on your behalf, but in the end will pay off exponentially.
Think about your network in terms of what you can do for it, and how can you assist others. Giving first to your network in a genuine way will come back to your ten fold.
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