10 Tips for Building your Network Remotely

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Whether you’re a newly-minted remote worker or have been a road warrior for years, here are 10 ways you can build and strengthen your tribe;

  1. Listen!  I’m pretty proud of myself and what I’ve accomplished in my time on this rock. But when I manage to stop talking about myself and shut up, I learn that the person across from me almost always has a fascinating story.  Build the discipline to listen attentively, and avoid the temptation to jump in with anything.  People can tell when you’re listening to respond, and not to understand.  Two ears, one mouth …
  2. Give, give give.  And then give some more.  The honest truth is that we network to help ourselves and build a better future career.  Paradoxically, the best way to help ourselves is to first help others.  And it can be hard when you really need something now, but trust me on this.  Make an unsolicited introduction.  Forward an article, blog post or tweet to connections that may be interested.  It turns out it is so much easier to help if you first do #1 above.  Reach out and say “hey” for no reason at all.  Good networkers build a foundation of great karma.
  3. Find friends, not “connections”.  Too many people are looking to eclipse 500 connections on LinkedIn.  With networking, quantity isn’t bad, but quality is king.  Build a tribe of people that you genuinely like to talk with, share with, be with.  It is SO HARD to help someone you dislike, or are even ambivalent towards.  Tell your complete and unvarnished story, and better yet, encourage them to tell theirs.  Especially in these days of social distancing, people crave real connections.  Be that connection; their friend.
  4. Under Commit, and Over Deliver.  Don’t promise things you’re not sure you can deliver.  Helping and giving is NOT the intent to do something; it is actually doing it.  And if you promise to do something, do it.  And do it sooner than promised.  If you’re like me, WRITE DOWN your commitments and don’t depend on your previously reliable memory.
  5. Introduce Yourself.  If you find yourself on a call or video meeting with someone you don’t know (or barely know), take a moment to introduce yourself.  You’re not the only one who feels uncomfortable talking with strangers, so be the hero that breaks the ice and says “Hi, I’m Julie. I help companies revamp their visual identity.  Plus I have an amazing border collie named Sam, and I’m addicted to caramel lattes.”  7.87 times out of 10, the other person will respond in kind. You should then be listening …
  6. Ask for introductions.  The very best people in my tribe are ones I’ve met unintentionally.  But I still believe in the value of networking intentionally.  Build a list of people you want to meet, and after you’ve known someone long enough that you’ve given & helped them multiple times, ask if they can introduce you to one of your targets.  It’s actually perfectly okay to share the entire target list with them; that often generates some interesting conversation.
  7. Volunteer.  It is ever so easy to become an uninteresting workaholic as a remote worker.  Once you’ve got yourself set up, you can scan your email and get caught up in a time suck at 12:53am.  Force yourself away from work by committing to something bigger than work.  Figure out what you’re passionate about, locate a local group in that space, and jump in with both feet.  Not only will you spend time away from work, you’ll meet some future friends, and you just might change the world.

 

That’s it for now.  And if you didn’t notice that I promised 10 tips and only delivered 7, you probably weren’t listening …

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