Have you ever had very obvious information staring in front of you but didn’t recognise it? For example, have you ever held your car keys or placed it in your pocket but ended up searching frantically for the keys? This post is supposed to help you find those keys that are right in your hands by helping you identify four places you have access to but you have most likely failed to network effectively! You are about to take your networking skills to level 2.0.
You know how these days the “in word” is “networking”, and people make it seem like you have to wake up in the morning and say “Hello world. Today, I am going to network” before you can actually network. I’m here to tell you for free (at absolutely no charge and as my Yoruba people would say lófe lófò) that you are currently underutilising at least four solid networks that you already have. My job today is to reveal those networks to you and encourage you to begin to tap into them. Here we go!
1. Alumni Network
Have you ever attended a school? It doesn’t matter if the school is a university, high school, primary school or coaching center. The fact remains you attended the school with people who are now all over the world doing amazing things. You have so much history with your classmates (see a message my classmate found from 2004! Thirteen years ago. I promise that our English has improved since then!) and you spent formative years of your life with them.
Even beyond your classmates, if you attended a school with a rich history and culture, you will be able to connect with anyone who attended that school, irrespective of when they attended the school and you can swap stories about your experiences. The alumni network deserves an independent blog post, but take my word for it and start attending your alumni events.
2. Religious Network
I love my church, LifePointe Church (@lifepointeng) and I think there is no network better than a network of people who share a common faith.
There is so much brotherliness within religious circles and because of your common faith, you already have something to talk about! For me, networking in church isn’t about getting clients or meeting people, it is about meeting people who can encourage me on my journey to spiritual maturity. It is also important for me to meet people in small groups, and Lifepoint has an excellent small group system which I think is everything, as you can connect with others more easily in a small group.
(I like how I didn’t intend to talk specifically about my church, but couldn’t do this post any justice without doing so!)
3. Hobby Related Network
All that jogging in Central Park or on the Lekki-Ikoyi bridge, and you have not met a single person? Haba now, what are you doing with yourself? What about your yoga class, or when you went for your bi-weekly karaoke hangout? Okay, what about when you play soccer or go swimming?
If you can identify an activity or hobby that you do fairly often that involves people, why not resolve to make a new friend from that network?
4. Social Media
This is pretty obvious, right? Social media is not just for you to “pepper them” as is being touted these days. It is for you to also look for people you find interesting and slide into their DM! If someone inspires you, drop a comment or send a message. Tweet at Oprah, you never know! A lot of us underutilise our social media handles. Advertise your goods, announce the services you offer and see what comes out of it. Click away and connect!
Are you going to make a conscious effort to take your networking game to the next level? Don’t see networking as meeting people because you want to get something from them. Instead see networking as an opportunity to hear people’s stories, learn from their experiences and develop yourself and you will never stop trying to network.
That’s it folks. How about we start practicing point four by subscribing to the blog and following on all our social media platforms? You can also drop me a note using the contact form. I’m happy to chit chat.
Can you think of other easy places for people to network? Please drop your suggestions in the comments!