“Fish swim in water, humans swim in a social context.” What Color is Your Parachute? (2012) Richard N. Bolles.
We are social beings who need to communicate. Some of us prefer email, text, social media, or writing while others prefer speaking in person or by phone.
Personal contact and face-to-face conversations are still the best way to network and build relationships for work and business. Fire Up Your Profile For LifeWork Success. Nancy J. Miller
When we think about our business or career network, we often forget that more business and career referrals come from friends, family, and colleagues than anywhere else. They know and trust us and they know people who trust them. So when they vouch for us it is very powerful. Because of proximity and trust that is built into our relationships, friends and family are the most obvious but often neglected part of our network.
Beyond our inner circle is friends of friends. This circle reaches beyond those we know well to those who know our reputation and therefore have some respect for us without knowing us well.
To expand the reach of our business or job search network, we often need to get beyond the first two circles of comfort and expand our circle of influence. When we want to expand our circle of influence we need to build trust in people who know nothing about us.
How can we build trust with people we don't know and don't know our work? We can build a reputation through joining groups, sharing information, working with them, giving resources, and generally being helpful. Showing gratitude for their work, writing about them, and recommending them for work we know was outstanding are some of the many ways we can build trust and grow relationships beyond the people we know.
The LinkedIn social media platform makes a great example of how to build reputation with people you don't know. The idea behind LinkedIn is to start with people you know -- friends, family, and colleagues -- they are your 1st level of connections. People they know are your 2nd and 3rd connections who can be introduced to you by your 1st level connections. You show them who you are and your expertise in your profile. Joining groups allows you to interact with people you don't know who share common interests or values.
Showing your interests, values, and what is unique about you connects you with others whether you use social media, networking groups, or associations. Get out and show who you are and what you can do. If you feel uncertain about what to say, contact me. I would love to talk with you.