As you build your own network, your circle of influence will grow. How will you use this new found influence to benefit those around you? Here are a few ways to leverage the people you know to support others.
1. Build a network with all kinds of people. Talk to those looking for jobs and those with jobs to offer. Talk with executives, students, managers, and individual contributors in all industries/business sizes. The more people you know in various categories, the better you can connect others to people outside their own circles- the ones they don't know, but would most benefit from knowing.
2. Your second meeting with someone, bring along a third person. You’re expanding both of your contacts networks and maximizing your time by getting a chance to see both of them. If you’re not comfortable with that yet, set up your meetings back to back and make sure your two friends get a chance to briefly meet, then you can introduce them over email afterwards to encourage them to meet up!
3. Create a mind map for the individuals you meet. A visual representation of their interests, involvement in groups, family members and ideas you associate with them. This will help you easily make connections to what they could need.
4. If you have an idea for how to help someone based on what they shared with you, don’t offer it right away in the conversation. Instead, make a mental note and reach out later with an email saying: "I was thinking about our conversation and wanted to offer this introduction, resource etc" This gives you another touch point and makes an impact as it appears more thoughtful.
5. The obvious one...Introduce people to each other! Send each individual an email letting them know that you would like to introduce them to this person (because of xyz reason.) Include that person's LinkedIn profile so he can put a face to the name and read up on their background/experience. Then ask if they would be interested in the connection.
6. Set up a "Friends of" group event. Chances are, your business contacts will like each other. It's also highly likely you don't have time to meet with everyone as you start to know too many people. Instead of "one on one" coffees, set up a quarterly event "Friends of Bethany" where you invite your entire network to come out and see you, while also meeting the rest of the people you know.