Over the next several weeks I’m going to share influence secrets to help you expand your online network. Why now? As my old boss used to say, “When is the best time to plant a bamboo tree? 50 years ago, because that means it’s fully grown. But, if you didn’t do that then the next best time is today!”
If you don’t have a strong online network already, then today is the day to start. That’s so because you never know when you’ll need to rely on your connections for help. Waiting until you need help might put you way behind the eight ball vs. having cultivated your network over time.
Kudos if you already have a strong network. But don’t rest on your laurels. A big network is similar to compounding interest. It’s easier to make money when you already have money and it’s easier to grow a network that’s already large. I bet you’d enjoy having more money and I know you’ll reap the benefits of a larger network.
Large or small, here are a handful of reasons to start focusing on expanding your online network.
Your network impacts you because you learn and grow from the people you associate with. According to Charlie “Tremendous” Jones, “You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.” With so many people on LinkedIn and so many diverse skills you would have to try hard not to grow if you’re engaging your network.
It’s not just about what you can get but just as much what you can give. Zig Ziglar put it best, “You can get everything you want in life if you would just help enough other people get what they want.” Sharing your knowledge, skills and content to help people will make them far more likely to help you when you need it because you’ll have engaged reciprocity.
Your network can open doors for you that might not open no matter how long or hard you knock. We live in the busiest time ever, working more days and longer hours. We need filters and buffers to protect our time. When a trusted connection vouches for you it acts as a filter of sorts, a signal to the other person that they should engage with you. I know I am far more willing to meet someone on the advice of a trusted friend or colleague than a simple cold call.
There are so many good people to meet beyond what they can do for you. I’ve met many people on social media that I call friends. We may not have done business and we may never do business, but I enjoy them. I’m better off for knowing those people because they’ve enhanced my life.
I noted earlier that your network is like compounding interest. The larger your network the more social proof you tap into. All things being equal, who would you rather engage with, the person with 300 connections or 3,000? Most people would go with the larger because there’s a host of positive assumptions that come with a large following.
This week I just wanted to prime you to start thinking about the importance of your network. Next week we’ll start looking at influence approaches to grow your network and online presence.
Brian Ahearn, CMCT®, is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE, LLC. An author, TEDx speaker, international trainer, coach, and consultant, he’s one of only 20 people in the world personally trained by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., the most cited living social psychologist on the science of ethical influence.
Brian’s first book, Influence PEOPLE: Powerful Everyday Opportunities to Persuade that are Lasting and Ethical, was named one of the 100 Best Influence Books of All Time by BookAuthority. His second book, Persuasive Selling for Relationship Driven Insurance Agents, was a new release bestseller in several Amazon categories. Brian’s LinkedIn Learning courses on the application of persuasion in sales and coaching have been viewed by more than 100,000 people around the world.