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How to Turn a Stranger into a Network Contact

How to Turn a Stranger into a Network Contact

Charles Purdy | Monster+HotJobs senior editor

January 13, 2011

Step 4: Stay in touch.
Your efforts to meet, record, and court new contacts are wasted if you let relationships lapse. An effective networker is participatory and involved.

Sound like a lot of work? It doesn’t have to be—in fact, your networking efforts shouldn’t take a lot of time (don’t “spam” your network by mass-sharing things of little value). Read an interesting article or book? Ask yourself who else might benefit from it. Planning to attend an industry conference or networking event? Find out how you can get more involved. Have something to say? Update your blog, and comment (thoughtfully) on the blogs of people in your network.

Step 5: Get back from your network.
If you’ve been conscientious about maintaining connections with your network, asking for something like an introduction or a favor will seem less like an imposition.

One key to getting results is to make specific requests of specific people. Sending your entire network a tweet saying, “My interior-design firm is accepting new clients!” probably isn’t enough—because it’s not speaking directly to anyone, and it’s not offering a tangible value. A better tactic is a targeted message to the right people—for instance, an email, describing your expertise in decorating boutique-hotel lobbies and asking for an introduction, to a contact in the hotel business.

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Be concise with your requests, don’t pester people, and don’t take it personally if someone isn’t able to help you—the reasons may be beyond his or her control. And finally, don’t forget to say “thank you”—if one of your contacts finds a way to help you, look for a way to help him or her, so your relationship will grow even stronger.

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