Regardless of the level of professionalism of your network, a simple principle will help you conserve resources and succeed in the process. All you have to do is realise that you are building a kind of virtual village around you. The purpose of this village is to serve your own purposes. You are the initiator and leader of this village community and shape it according to your wishes and, above all, for your benefit. To do this, of course, you must first know what your wishes are and what your benefits are. You are completely free to imagine who should be in this village and what function he or she should have. You want an example?
For example, you need a few doctors in any case. Who should be your village doctors? Do you already have a good dentist? If not: what qualities should he or she have? To get away from this somewhat mundane example: What should the people be like who are supposed to help you in life? Who you would like to have in your group? With whom you would like to establish contact? What branches should they come from, what age should they be, what social status, etc.?
Of course, it makes no sense at all to “wish” for completely hypothetical villagers: Of course it would be useful and desirable for you to have a good friendship with the chairman of the board of Deutsche Bank. However, this will be infinitely more difficult than building a good relationship with the director of the Deutsche Bank branch around the corner. So your task is first to identify the desirable inhabitants of your virtual village and then to match your existing contacts and the opportunities you have at the moment with the relationships you would like to have. The difficult part is that you have to remain creative and imaginative, but realistic at the same time. In the best case, after some thought, you have a list of people to populate your virtual village. This is your personal network, at least it already exists on paper. Some of the names are already your friends or professional contacts, others you know only distantly, still others you do not know at all. But once you know roughly what you want your club to look like, you avoid a lot of unpleasant contacts with people who won’t help you anyway and who won’t inspire you. Now that you know which “natives” your virtual village should have, all you really have to do is start approaching these people, inviting them and meeting them regularly.
How should you go about building your relationship network in the most effective way?
Basically, there are only 6 things you need to consider
- know who you want to be part of it
- keep in regular contact
- give help, seek help
- establish a code
- be a host
- develop own media