You have the opportunity to exponentially expand your circles of influence, professional and social connections by building relationships with groups and individuals in your community. Consider joining local organizations dedicated to making a positive impact. Being active and visible in these groups highlights your value and positions you as a committed and trusted community advocate.
How it helps
Key players in your community may include local government officials, school board members, alumni groups, religious leaders and executives of local charities. Generating consistent face-time with these individuals tends to afford you a degree of credibility over time within the community. You can markedly expand your circles of influence by developing friendships with these groups and members of your community.
How to get started
Identify the leaders and organizations that you believe are influential in your community.
- Get to know the constituents served by each leader and the types of business challenges they may be trying to solve.
- Identify one or two leaders that you’d like to connect with the most.
Join community groups and organizations that have the highest concentration of potential new clients and where you feel you will make the most impact. You must be genuine in your endeavors and be willing to put in the time to get involved.
Stay in regular contact with the leaders you have identified as centers of influence.
- When you’re doing volunteer work, send regular updates by mail or e-mail. Send information they can share with others, such as action items completed toward civic projects.
- Ask leaders during face-to-face meetings for input, suggestions and advice on projects you’re involved with.
- Best practices
- Once you’ve identified groups you’re interested in joining, ask about what needs they may have and what kind of time commitment may be involved. Look for groups that most closely align with your personal and professional interests and that you would enjoy working with .
- Commitment required
- Be highly visible—offer to introduce speakers at community events. Become a greeter or usher.
- Be an advocate—help community leader’s network in areas that may be important to them, such as finding legal or professional resources or anywhere you have specific contacts and subject matter expertise.
- Be vocal—speak up in meetings, participate in discussions, let your unique voice be heard.
- Where to go for help
- Pay attention to your local papers and news stations. Which leaders are being interviewed the most? Which leaders tend to receive favorable news coverage?
- Visit local websites that talk about projects going on in your community.Since I have moved to Sarasota, Florida almost 2 years ago, I continue to see how my own network has grown. By joining, getting involved and participating with The Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce and a Bi partisan political group, I have met and developed relationships and doors have opened. Does it take time?? Absolutely, yet we all know that true networking that yields results take time, patience and commitment.Another wonderful community opportunity for me just resulted in being selected as part of the "Leadership Sarasota" Class of 2017 sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce.I am excited and look forward to becoming more involved in the community.