Connect with the right people

The first step is to decide on the purpose or goal of your networking campaign. While some people want to grow their network to develop their personal brand, others do it to generate leads for their businesses. Your approach and strategy need to be modified accordingly. If you wish to improve your personal brand, you should connect with people who are working in a field similar to yours. If you are looking to apply for a job, make sure to connect with a few employees of the same company and/or department. That will increase your chances of getting recommended for the job by these people. On the flip side of the coin, if your goal is to generate leads for business, you need to connect with your potential customers and convince them of the quality of your product or service through your value proposition.

In either case, it is you who matters the most. What you say determines the kind of network you will build. Therefore, it is important to put your thoughts into words. That’s the next tip.

Be vocal about your dreams

Every one of us has a dream. Oftentimes we are ashamed of speaking about it, assuming that it is out of this world and people will laugh at it. What we don’t realize is that every dream is achievable with the right kind of effort and mentoring. The best part of networking is that you can connect with great mentors who can help and guide you towards your dreams.

Case in point: I am interested in space omics and astronaut health, fields that are pretty new and unconventional. At first, I could not find any support for my ideas. But I kept on talking about it to anyone who would listen. After a few months, I found some researchers who were eager to guide me and help me work on my project. Now, I am working on several projects with several scientists and students from all over the world. That’s the power of networking. But it requires effort. You also need to take care of your network. That’s when proper interaction comes into play.

Be interactive

Networking is a two-way process. Remember, your connections are human beings with emotions. Therefore, acknowledging their achievements, congratulating them on their birthdays, and sharing useful news and information with them should be practiced often.

Last year, I attended the International Research Management Essentials (IRME) course at ITMO. During this course, I met several teachers from different countries. I connected with them all, interacted with them, and thanked them for their lectures. Even after the course was over, I kept in touch with them on social media. One year later, I met them again during the next IRME course, this time not as a student but as a colleague. Additionally, attending conferences and industry events is a great way to grow your network. Keeping in touch through social media is also a key factor in maintaining a good network and that is the next and the final tip.

Use your social media wisely

Social media, like any other scientific invention, is a boon if used properly and a bane if wasted. Social media is the most powerful tool when it comes to networking. It allows you to connect with people who are located several thousand miles away from you. Some of the widely used social media platforms for networking are LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, Telegram, and others. The backbone of networking on social media is your content and the way you engage with people. You should use these platforms to add some value to other people’s lives. Make it a habit to share something useful and interesting regularly.

Here’s a detailed guide on how to grow your network using social media and more.