Powerful Networks are More Than a Dream
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Powerful Networks are More Than a Dream

Powerful relationships are more than a dream. They come to life any time, often springing from the simple act of saying, “Hi.”

That is the premise and proof from J. Kelly Hoey’s life and career. A member of the National Speakers Association, she is an author and creator of the Build Your Dream podcast and book.

Hoey talked with millennial expert, marketing and branding strategist, global speaker and LinkedIn instructor, Chelsea Krost, during Krost’s #MillennialTalk Twitter chat. They looked at how everyone can make strong networks and powerful relationships a reality.

There is no time like the present to start networking. Begin having conversations, and let one thing lead to another.

“Start by committing to listen and help others more than asking for help,” Hoey said. “Practically, if you’re networking for career and business opportunities, start with LinkedIn.

You never know where opportunities will come from,” she said. “I’ve had opportunities sent my way by interns, former colleagues, clients and friends.”

Especially through social media, reaching out is not bound by time or place.

“The beautiful thing about networking is that you can do it anywhere and anytime naturally when you happen to meet an interesting person,” Krost said. “This is why having a business card, elevator pitch or explanation of what you do ready at all times is key.

“Don’t be all about business,” she said. “Think that more relationships equal friendships. Networking — like all relationships — is a two-way street.”

Limited networking opportunities are not really limited.

“Thanks to social media and the World Wide Web, we have never had more access to connect with people near and far,” Krost said.

“Let’s think outside of the box when it comes to networking,” she said. “The days where you have to go to an in-person networking event are great but not available right now. Use what you have to your advantage.”

Different frame of mind

True networking begins with new ways of thinking.

“Start by changing your mindset on what you imagine networking is — immediately,” Hoey said. “Twitter chats are networking. Sharing what you learn from a chat, podcast or online course with your friends is networking.

“Writing a book review is networking,” she said. “I’ve met and interviewed and connected with several Build Your Dream readers because of book reviews.”

Saying hello is a start but is only meaningful with follow through.

“Introduce yourself when you join an online conversation on Twitter and Zoom,” Hoey said. “Be present with every digital interaction. Social media has democratized access and the opportunity to build connections, but you have to show up online as you do in real life.

If you think networking is just schmoozing at cocktail parties or something you do only when you’re looking for a job, you’re missing out on opportunities,” she said.

Carefully network with those who you have no prior connections.

“Do research,” Hoey said. “Don’t reach out cold until you’ve thoroughly read up about the person. If you can Google the information, read it and ask the person a better question. Then make a stronger first impression.”

Krost advised not to self-impose limits when it comes to building a powerful network. For those interested in getting on someone’s radar, she suggested several things to do:

  • Connect on social media.
  • Comment and like on their posts.
  • Send a direct message or personal email.

“When reaching out to someone new, find a mutual win or share your value — where you can be of service or have a solution — within your outreach message,” Krost said.

“My personal biggest turn off is when people reach out to me for the first time and out of nowhere ask to schedule a call to ‘pick my brain,’” she said. “No. No. No. Be mindful. Don’t ask for something right away. Share and give to connect authentically.”

Krost and Hoey also talked about working smarter, not harder, along with keeping dream networks simple in the rest of their #MillennialTalk conversation.

 

About Jim Katzman
Jim Katzaman is a manager at Largo Financial Services and worked in public affairs for the Air Force and federal government. You can connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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