Explore the various professional, civic and charitable organizations you currently belong to or would like to join, and consider ways you can leverage your affiliation both personally and professionally. For each organization, identify three to five key people whom you most want to get to know and approach them. As you get to know them and learn from them opportunities may develop. It is a known fact that people who affiliate with the same group as you are often more open and trusting as a result of your shared interests.
We know that organizations often tend to be formed around a common goal—supporting medical research, funding the arts, boosting children’s athletic clubs, etc. Even if you have no prior history with the group, once you join an organization, you instantly become a member of the team.
A few ways to start:
- Make a list of all the organizations you belong to and those would you like to join. Think where can I also make a difference and really be a member of the team.
- Identify which organizations offer the highest concentration of potential new clients for your business over time. Be patient and develop the relationships. You may result in a new referral source, a trusted advisor to your board or a new friend.
- Identify key qualified prospects in those organizations. Note any common interests, affiliations, or shared connections that you have with these people. Again, here is where you start adding to your Information bank.
- Invite people in your associations to attend seminars or business events that you are hosting outside of the one you first met at. Help them expand their network.
What is the commitment?
Like many people, you probably already belong to a number of different groups all with different interests, opportunities and possibilities. Identify and commit to participating in organizations, events, programs, etc.
- Contribute content to your organization’s newsletter or website. If your club or organization produces an online newsletter or blog, offer to write a column on topics of interest to your fellow members. Include a short bio of yourself (no more than two or three sentences) that describes what you do and the challenges that you help people solve.
- Talk about current events and topics related to your field. Before and after organizational meetings, pay attention to the conversations around you. When people are talking about the latest headlines, (other than politics) engage them in topics that you both may be interested in learning more about.
I think of the various organizations I belong to and the wonderful friendships and referral opportunities that have resulted which has added tremendously to my networking universe and business. Again this happens over time and with commitment. Nothing happens overnight especially in networking.