How to build a power network

In my experience there's been two crucial pieces to establishing a strong network of people who care and are actively involved in each other's success.

1. The Mindset

Work not just to make money or advance personal interests, but to build something of value for others.

Choosing to see my work this way has helped me bring a genuine passion and interest to supporting people with my skills. I'm invested and engaged out of a desire to see them succeed. This focus on filling business needs while caring about the complexity of the individual has helped me build long lasting relationships. 

Books that influenced this way of thought for me: 

Linchpin- Seth Godin
Conscious Capitalism- Raj Sisodia
How to win friends and influence people- Dale Carnegie
Give and Take- Adam Grant

2. The System: 

Just having the right mindset isn’t enough. You need to also create opportunities to connect with others and build relationships.  Having a system to do that helps create good habits and keep the momentum of growing your network. 

Here are a few of the things I do to expand my network and circle of influence. 

  1. If traveling, I’ll reach out to a few contacts and let them know what city I'll be in and that I’d love to meet interesting, influential people while I’m there. They often know someone there that I don't and will facilitate an introduction.
  2. I'll attend conferences and spend the entire time meeting the attendees rather than attending the lectures and sessions.
  3. I'll reach out to people I met, let them know I enjoyed talking with them and want to hear more of their story. I'll then set up a coffee meeting to get to know them. 
  4. If someone mentions they have an event coming up, I'll put a note in my calendar to ask how it went.
  5. I'll make introductions for other people.
  6. I'll write handwritten thank you notes after meetings with people.
  7. I'll find reasons to get in touch with my contacts. New things going on in their business, or if I think of them when I read an inspiring quote.
  8. I'll keep a google document on every person with notes about them so I can remember details about their lives. 
  9. If I meet people but don't build enough rapport to ask for a business card, I'll write down their name and then connect on LinkedIn later and start the conversation there. 
  10. I build personas, What kind of person am I looking to meet? Where do they hangout? Who else knows them? What do they value? What kind of personality do they often have? 

Books that influenced this way of thought for me:

Never eat alone - Keith Ferazzi
Networking is not working- Derek Coburn

Having a combination of the right mindset and the right systems can help you build authentic, trust based relationships that will make great things happen both for you and the people in your network.