Sometimes I wonder, how and where did I start to network? Was I a born networker? What was the moment I realized that spending time to connect with people is important , I am not sure I have the answer; however I think once you are connected you need to stay connected or deliberately deicide to stop the connection, because maybe this is the most important quality in a successful connector, they almost always know the state of the network around them.
If you do not keep up with your network and how it moves, all of your networking hours are wasted. So we better keep the people we meet in our orbit. And sometimes when they do really not fit in your orbit anymore you should also not keep them in, because this might also pollute your network. Sometimes even without you realizing.
Keep track of your personal career network. It is important to keep track of what the different contacts in your network can offer you or how you can help them. Equally important is to know what you have to offer as a contact. Ideally, networking should be mutually beneficial, so be sure to let your network know how you can help them.
Do not be fooled going to sleep as an introvert and waking up as an extrovert is impossible. You cannot, therefore, expect to get up and start initiating exciting conversations with people you just met if that is not your nature. Excellent communication skills take time to build.
I also believe we need to dare to think outside the box and beyond the corporate cocktails when thinking about networking. The best way to improve your networking skills is to put yourself out there and give it a try. If you are willing to support your network, they are more likely to return the favor.
It’s never too early — or too late — to invest in your network.