Success is proportional to the number of people you know. Try networking at work and socially. Collect new people and then keep in touch with them. Be interested in people. Ask them questions. Don't prejudge importance - you never know who will lead to what. Help the people you know.
- I saw a piece of research where it said that successful people tend to know more people, and in fact, success is proportional to the number of people you know. At first, I found this surprising, but then, I suppose it does make sense. The more people you know, the more likely you are to have a contact who can help you with whatever you're trying to do. And also, they'll know other people, customers, suppliers, people who could join your team, whatever you need. And if you can not just know lots of people, but also help them, that'll be even better, because they'll all want to help you, too.
So, how can you do this? How can you get to know lots of people? Well, stage one is to collect them, and stage two is to keep in touch with them. So, for stage one, take every opportunity to go to networking events, conferences, and social events, and when you're there, make the effort to talk to everyone, not just the people you already know. And when you meet people generally, be curious about them, ask them about themselves, and ask them for their name. Be interested in everyone.
Ask them questions rather than talking about yourself. Get their card if that's appropriate, and maybe make notes about them on the card, or in your phone contacts, so that you can remember them and why they interested you. And don't assume that you can tell who's important and who isn't. Nearly everyone can be useful or interesting in some way, or provide you with a new connection. There's no such thing as important people and unimportant people. You just never know where the paths will lead.
So, have a chat with people in whatever job they might be doing. It'll be fun anyway, and you just never know where it will lead. Become a collector of people. And then, stay in touch, just every now and then. I use LinkedIn as a way of keeping a list of everyone I've met, and if I don't get their card, I have a search on LinkedIn later and find them. Then, by posting articles, I can keep myself on their radar as well as seeing what they are up to when they post.
Ideally, you'd run down through your list and send a brief message to anyone you haven't had any contact with for a while. Just an email with some news, or a how's-it-going would be fine. It would be really great if it was personalized, something like, I just wondered if you ever got that African contract, or, did you see that amazing football match at the weekend? Your team, the one they support, played brilliantly. You could certainly do this for your most important contacts, maybe have a two-tier list.
But something more general, like a newsletter, would also be okay. For example, I send out an email tip each month to everyone on my mailing list. It's now up to 20,000, and that's another, easy way to keep in touch with lots of people, in a fairly personal way, that also adds value for them. I know it's easier for me to come up with useful monthly tips, since I do training, but then, if you ran a hotel, you could send special offers, but also, more unusual ideas for evenings or weekends at the hotel, and if you were a media company, you could send tips on how to use Twitter and LinkedIn.
There's almost always an angle where you can add value for other people, in just an occasional way. Clearly, you don't want to overdo it. So, how many people do you know, and how can you multiply that by 10? How are you going to meet more people, and how are you going to keep in touch with them?