Have you ever wondered how to grow your network? Are you looking to connect with influential people in your industry? Today I felt compelled to write my thoughts about paying it forward, and how to attract quality connections. This month I’ve experienced an outpouring of unsolicited promotion and praise from a variety of people, which caused me to really question how this was all happening. Today, there were two women who both endorsed my services as a 20 year matchmaker and invited me into their private groups. Shortly after, I was being referred to their personal network and more of my published content and materials were shared. Cary Ann is a woman who connected with me via Facebook through a mutual connection, who then suggested me to her cousin Melanie Goldstein.
Both of these women are fabulous in their own right, who are obvious influencers in their own communities. As my cell phone was buzzing from all my Facebook notifications, and I start seeing mention after mention. Naturally, my curiosity got the better of me. “What’s going on here?” I began to question. “Who are these ladies? What did I do to deserve all this attention and endorsement? Did they read some article I wrote? Did they subscribe to an affiliate program for Lavalife, one of the companies I work with?” Those answers came shortly after when Melanie stated on her FB thread that she was not promoting me for financial gain. She actually knows people who were married through Lavalife. And Cary Ann is a natural connector herself. Through this connection another fabulous woman entered the picture, Lana Asanin, TV Personality, model, actress, spokesperson and yet another female extraordinaire. We started a conversation; and we are now talking about working on a joint project.
Last week Jennifer Beale, a guru of networking held her 11th Anniversary Summer Networking Bash. She invited me to host and launch a brand new “Speed Networking for Singles” session within the event, which was named “A Business Affair.” We had only met in person at the CityKeyVIP launch party not too long ago. Jim Pagiamtzis, Founder of Get Connected make Wealth Happen; referred me to Jennifer over a year ago. I met Jim at a meet-up event for singles hosted by Meet Market Adventures when I was their dating and matchmaking expert. These types of connections happen to me all the time, and I’m really not making this stuff up! If there’s a gift or trick to networking, I can say I was blessed with it. This ability has come from my years of working in the dating and matchmaking business and becoming comfortable with meeting people face to face. I have been on the spot many times. I can now be thrown into a crowd. I have been tasked many times to find what most people will call a needle in a haystack; both for businesses or for singles looking for a partner.
We’ve all heard the phrase, “It’s not what you know, but who you know” used as an advantage for achieving goals or getting the “yes.” I can attest from personal experience, “Who” I know; are some pretty incredible and influential people.
So enough about me! I really want to share some insight with you as to why I believe I’ve had this recent attention and unsolicited praise. I feel a strong obligation to paying it forward, as a result of these fantastic people who’ve referred me to their social circles. I recently read an article which stated 95% of people will make buying decisions based on a personal recommendation, rather than looking at marketing material. This is social media at it’s best. Keep in mind, these are some of the main reasons I credit my gift of networking and ability to attract fantastic people and businesses to my specific skills. Take the advice which applies to you, and I encourage you to start making notes of how people are hearing about you, what they are saying and why they wish to make your connection.
1. Become An Expert In Your Industry
Would you ever take medical advice from a mechanic? Or how about important financial advice from a struggling artist? Fitness advice from a couch potato? O.K, these examples may be far fetched; but when it comes to getting serious answers to your serious questions, you will usually seek and ask the advice of an expert. They say you need to put in 10,000+ hours to truly become an expert in your field. You don’t become an expert overnight, but every day you are working on your business, perfecting your craft and spending time “doing” what it is you do best, is time you invest into becoming an expert. Although we all need to start at some point, I can tell you my degree of confidence and ability to quickly identify challenges and offer solutions for both personal and business challenges is largely due to the thousands of hours I’ve spent in my industry. Becoming an expert means, putting in the time, diving into research, meeting others in your field and getting out and about. To become known in your business, you cannot be the faceless wonder. You really have to put yourself out there and join the conversations. Once you’re known as an expert in your niche and are visibly passionate about what you do; share your thoughts and opinions with others on important matters and issues surrounding your expertise. Become an authority in your industry, the “go to” person for anyone looking for advice or perspective in your field. LinkedIn has been a tremendous resource for me to connect with other top industry professionals, along with the other mainstream social media channels such as Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. You can make it your mission as an expert, to help others solve their specific challenges by sharing your experiences.
2. Don’t be afraid to share your secrets
In my industry, I have often been quoted saying “There are no secrets.” After all, we’ve all heard loads of dating and relationship advice haven’t we? Sometimes I feel everything which could be said about dating and finding someone has already been said. Of course I know this isn’t the case; or else why would I be writing another e-Book and working on a book for publishing? The reason I find people connect with me is I’ve given a lot of free “expert” advice . I believe in Karma, so keeping secrets in my head about how to find love or how to help people find love, is against my purpose in life. Now, this doesn’t mean you freely, willingly, and openly blabber all your secrets to the entire universe. There are people willing to pay for your insight and your expert insight has tremendous value. If you don’t share them, they lose value. What I’ve learned, is there are a lot of people who have amazing things to share, who you never hear from. Some people prefer to keep it to themselves. Collaboration and partnership will help you achieve your goals faster. If your issue is you don’t know how to share your expertise with others, figure it out. Starting a blog, is a great way to share your wealth of knowledge to those who want to know. A big secret to my success, has been sharing some of my secrets with others. I love the saying “You don’t know, what you don’t know.” When I focus on teaching people the short cuts and sharing my recipe for success, the universe rewards me with an even greater connection who has an even larger network.
3. Focus more time on giving, but don’t be afraid to ask for help
It seems like a no brainer for some of you reading this. How many times however, do you run across people who are always asking for help but offer nothing in return? As if by your acquaintance or circumstance, you’re obligated to give them your time and expertise. In addition to becoming an excellent giver, you should also use help which is being offered to you. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help from those who you can learn from. Giving has purpose. If you’re anything like me, you probably feel you’re doing more of the giving than receiving. Life has a wonderful way of balancing things out. As a believer in the Laws of Attraction and The Laws of Intention; there’s a strong sense of personal satisfaction knowing I had a positive impact to someone’s life. Paul Carrick Brunson is an example of a man focused on giving. He had shared this key point in his talk about social media, at the New York Matchmaker’s conference hosted by the Matchmaking Institute: 85% of what you share with others (blogging) is about service, 10% is about promotion and 5% is about the ask. When someone gives me a recommendation or a referral, it’s reciprocated with thanks and recognition. When I have the opportunity to return the favor, I don’t hesitate. When it comes to asking for help, I think of this phrase: “If you don’t ask…the answer will always be no.” It’s very difficult to grow your network when you don’t have something to offer, and when you don’t fully utilize help when it’s offered.
4.Bite off more than you can chew
I know this advice may scare some people, but I’m known as someone who’s used to juggling more than one project at a time. I have a hard time saying no to people and opportunities which interest me. There’s just so many rock stars out there! Another favorite quote of mine is, “People regret most, the things they never do.” It can be challenging saying yes to too many things. I’m not saying all my choices will always work out perfectly; but I’m always engaged in something to do with my industry. My personal choice to take on more versus less, has allowed me to really grow as a person, and connect with a whole new group of people who I would otherwise not have met. I am also conscious of saying yes to things and activities I love, and that work in synergy with other projects I may be working on. This ensures I am able to leverage my time with each project; and not get overwhelmed. There have been so many people who influence me and this list continues to grow. Perhaps my hard work is a way of paying it forward, through sharing what I’ve learned from other leaders to everyone around me.
5. Get out and about
This is part of my secret sauce on how to grow your network. Mathew Hussey is a real life example of a man paying it forward, as he’s someone who has helped thousands of women overcome their dating woes and frustrations. When I attended his book tour “Get The Guy” in Toronto, he asked the ladies in the audience a simple question.
“So you want to find and meet the right guy? How many of you meet at least 1 – 2 new guys a week?”
Here comes the laughter from the crowd, a rather tiny percentage of the 200+ women in the room raised their hands. you can imagine his response afterwards. Hmmm, the same rules apply to growing your network. You can’t grow a strong network from your home and by never meeting anyone. You can add people to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc… but growing a really strong network involves face to face or voice interaction. I believe there’s nothing better than a face to face meeting. Giving your time to someone is a personal sacrifice. There are not enough hours in the day and time is a very precious commodity, which many people guard and manage closely. When you study proxemics (the study of varying patterns of physical proximity in human or animal populations) you begin to identify and evaluate the people who occupy your various spaces. You may move people around according to the effect and impact the relationship has to your lifestyle, health and happiness. The people who have the greatest impact and influence in your life are those in your intimate and personal space. All of the connections we make via social media or web are the people in our social and public space. These relationships can also influence aspects of your life. The people you spend time with in your personal and intimate space, are the people who can help push you up or push you down if you allow them to. Getting out and about, will introduce you to people who may have the answers to the questions and challenges you are looking for.
“Your net worth is often determined by your network.” I am often told that in order to determine what your income will be, you take the gross pay of the 5 people you spend the most time with and divide that income by 5. If this were a fact, I would think you would choose the friends and colleagues who increased the overall average. Keeping this in mind, surround yourself with happy, successful and positive people. Write your list of goals and things you value most and see if your intimate circle measures up to your list. If not, don’t stress. It just means you have some more networking to do!
Network with passion and purpose, and remember
to share your success with others :)
6 thoughts on “Paying It Forward – How To Grow Your Network”
An excellent list for those wanting to learn how to expand their network.
Thanks Neil :) Coming from you, that’s a real compliment!
Camilla, Thoughly enjoyed reading your contribution. Always loved the Paying It Forward concept. Helping others opens doors and opportunities for everyone.
If you have time download my booklets from LinkedIn.
Thank you for your kind feedback. I will certainly take the time to learn more about what you do!
Carmelia, thank you for sharing and providing such a wealth of information. This will assist me as I am seeking to expand my territory and network with more professional and profitable people. Much gratitude, Tonya
I’m happy you found some good information for you to apply as you grow your network. It’s all about paying it forward as it’s stated in the title.
I’d love to hear how it goes down the road :)