Never Stop Expanding Your Network

You may do your job well, even so well that no one can complain, but you never get ahead. This career trap can cause many problems. The cause of the problem may be that you are one dimensional. You are so good at what you do and you’ve become so comfortable that you’ve stopped sharing thoughts, ideas, and helpful hints.

I’ve seen friends fall into this trap. When they need to expand their network they ignore the signs.

  • Co-workers stop coming to them for help.
  • They don’t reach out to people below and above them.
  • They don’t take advantage of programs that might help them expand their skills.

Your Corporate Network

Many of you may be imagining some old man on the verge of retirement that has trouble adapting to the latest computer programs at work. This happens at every age. I’m relatively young, 32, but a few months ago I felt like I had become complacent at my job and I wasn’t keeping my co-worker network strong.

I decided to start calling people within the organization to just say hi. I always make it short and sweet and keep the conversation on them. They love it. They have been more willing to help me out with a problem instead of pushing me on to someone else.

Customer Network

This same problem happens with your customer base. When we get too comfortable and we stop reaching out to old contacts, we hinder the circular flow of love from our networks that helps us succeed.

You have to communicate to all levels within the organization to stay on the pulse of your company or your business, but you don’t have to push from just one angle. If you sell refrigerators and all you do is talk about how good they are, all day every day, people will tune you out.

Talk to people about what they enjoy most – themselves. Let them remember you for your graciousness and they will return the favor.

What do you do to expand your network?

Related Career Tips and Advice:

* Buzzoodle Marketing wrote about being one dimensional, which spurred this article.

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Image courtesy of luc legay

Comments

  1. Thanks Karl,

    Nice article and very true. Thanks for crediting me with the spark. I happen to think blogging is a great networking tool.

    Buzzoodle Ron’s last blog post..Viral Marketing

  2. Hey Ron, I really enjoyed your article. I was happy to give you some link love. You deserve it.

  3. Hi Karl,

    With blogging, I find new bloggers to visit. In business, we call old customers or drop in on them, just to say “Hi”. We will often ask those that we work for if they know of anyone who’s might be needing our services.

    In business, it’s never wise to put all of your eggs in one basket, so having a large network, is great, especially when we’re looking for additional work.

    Barbara Swafford’s last blog post..A.S.K. – Liz Strauss – How To Format A Blog Post To Maximize Comments

  4. Word of advise from someone who has been in the corporate environment or should i say working for someone else, it is very important to make those connections. I used to whine when i got invitations to events and though I had to go I never made lasting useful connections. Here is my advise, make a goal to collect x number of business cards when you go out to events, sell yourself, send “nice to have met you” emails to the people you meet and collect business cards from, you might just get a mentor or a future employer from the process, or even make a new friend, open up new circles for yourself… You know what I mean.

    If you have to join professional associations for work, do it thinking of how they can work for YOU in the long run, yes, it is for work but you have to think of yourself. Get the accreditation (those letters that go after your name) you can use those for ever. Networking is important, even if you like it or not, just do it.

    Anyway that is my two cents.

    -Tabs

  5. Hi karl

    I think this is very good advice you are giving here. I have relied on networking for years to get work, as I have been freelancing. I have often rung people up to ask them something I didn’t really need to know, just for an excuse to make contact with them.

    Robin’s last blog post..Reincarnation… A Scenario

  6. Thanks Karl- another great post. I find myself pulling back the reins occasionally because it IS so easy to fall into the trap of focusing on one thing, becoming a sort of workaholic and in the process shutting out people and ideas which may help you to advance.

  7. Hi Karl,

    It’s sure a lot easier these days with email, blogging and social networks. I’ve lost touch with many folks who I once knew well decades ago. I regret that and sometimes I can find them on facebook or Google and it’s always I nice experience to re-connect.

    Tom Volkar / Delightful Work’s last blog post..The Prize is in the Pursuit

  8. Hey Barbara, always asking for referrals is a great way to keep your network growing?

    Hey Tabs, great advice. When we go out to an event, even if it’s work related, it’s always good to try to make a new connection for professional gain. I also love the nice to meet you email. I do that with all my first time commenters.

    Hey Robin, using any reasonable excuse to make contact is worth the time. It also gets the creative juices flowing.

    Hey Janelle, when we keep reaching out we not only open new doors, but keep those new ideas flowing.

  9. Hey Tom, our old networks need to be revisited too. They can open many unexpected doors.

  10. Hi Karl: Networking is definitely an important skill. It’s one of those “umbrella” skills, like emotional intelligence, that supports any talents or technical skills that you may have. It doesn’t matter how bright you are or how hard you work, knowing how to connect with others is vital to succeed in this world.

    Marelisa’s last blog post..Making Time to Create

  11. National Directory Search says:

    You are absolutely correct, these types of relationships do need to be sustained. The real problem is finding ways to monetize the time spent answering questions of co-workers and colleagues. I often find that they seem to come around at the most un-opportune times, and after about 15 minutes of yacking with the guy down the hall, whatever work I was doing at the time has been lost.

  12. You need to connect with people who have influence in your field. – I find when I read posts there is generally one sentence that jumps out at me. This sentence jumps out at me because I am chomping at the bit to get out of the job I’m in, and into the job I want. And this has caused me great frustrations. However, this sentence reminds me that I am actually working towards the job I want. I am taking the time to get to know people and to build contacts, and I need to trust in the process. Thanks!

    Urban Panther’s last blog post..He said he never…might…will get married

  13. Hey Urban Panther, I’m glad I could help. It takes time to build the right network. When we are first starting out we make so many mistakes we think we’ll never reach our goals, but over time the pieces start falling together.

  14. networks is the most important…

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