3 Ways to Network You’re Probably Forgetting

In today’s always-on-always-connected world of business, there are limitless opportunities to network, connect with people and companies, give feedback on products and experiences that you have, and rate brands and colleagues on their skills and abilities. With all of this going on, standing out and networking can be tough. How do you get someone’s attention and build your network? What are the best ways and the best tools to use?

Nothing beats face-to-face interactions and conversations, especially when networking. Getting to know someone and sharing a little bit about you personally can go a long way. And don’t forget social networks: LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ and Twitter can help you stay connected with customers, contacts and colleagues, as well help you expand your network.

However, at a recent Acquirent lunch-and-learn, I was reminded of a few other ways to connect. During this particular session, the team reread Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” and I was struck by the accuracy and relevance of his words. And this is a book originally written in 1936! I wondered to myself: if it can work for Carnegie, can it work for me?

To a certain extent, what is old can be new again when it comes to networking. Here’s how to increase your network, get noticed and stand out as you build your career:

WRITE A LETTER TO SOMEONE

I know postal mail is often thought as a poor way to connect in today’s modern times, but considering how I get less and less of it (while my spam folder grows), I read what mail I receive. A handwritten mailed note from an applicant always stands out when it ends up on my desk. And unlike unwanted mail, I read the entire message.

TALK TO PEOPLE IN SOCIAL SITUATIONS

Human interactions and genuine connections can be a lost art. When I was on the road as an outside sales person and eating out alone a lot, having conversations at the bar yielded a number of interesting connections.

CALL SOMEONE AND OFFER TO HELP

My business partner Joe Flanagan is an artist when it comes to giving before you get. It’s like the golden rule, if you want something from someone, find out what they need. Perhaps they need help with a cause particularly close to them. Offer to help! People are always more willing to help someone who has helped them.

All of these ideas are totally boring, I know. But ask yourself, when was the last time you sent a handwritten note to someone? Do you know where you’ve stored your stamps right now or what it even costs to buy one? (I had a hard time remembering myself, to be honest.)

So although some ideas can seem simple, they are often such that we forget about and skip right over them anyway. Next time you want to connect with a prospect, a colleague or a power broker in your industry, think of the wisdom of Dale Carnegie and ask yourself, what would Dale do? You may find it works for you today as well!