Virtually every entrepreneur and working professional knows the many benefits and positive impacts that come with networking. Yet despite the importance of networking, many of us don't have time to do it as much as we should or simply don't know where to start.
Luckily for us, there are networking experts like Jordan Harbinger who can help point us in the right direction when it comes to managing a high-volume network of busy people. Harbinger is an entrepreneur who has been dubbed the "Larry King of Podcasting." Prior to launching his own podcast, he was the host of The Art of Charm, which averaged four million monthly downloads at its peak, and teaches listeners how to effectively communicate and connect personally and professionally.
When you're trying to keep in touch with a super busy individual in your network, send them something they would find valuable (an article, an app, a podcast episode, etc.) via text or email, but be sure to use the words, "no response necessary" in your message. This is important because for a busy person, unsolicited texts and emails (even from people they care about most) are often viewed as yet another task they have to check off their list when a response is required. What this tactic does is change the touch point from assigning homework to just letting the person know you were thinking of them.
An example of a great message would be, "I think you'd love this article. No response necessary, just wanted to send it your way. Hope all is well."
Since I heard Jordan mention this on the "Self Made Man" podcast with Mike Dillard, I've begun to implement the strategy in my own life. Not only has it worked, it's also been liberating. Because I don't have to continue corresponding with the person I reached out to. I save myself time and I've reminded that person I was thinking about them.
Here are other tips you should consider experimenting with when it comes to networking.
Use tools like Cloze and Contactually.
Both of these tools automatically sync your communication history with your contacts across a variety of networks, and remind you when it's about time to reach out and rekindle those relationships. The thing I like best about these tools is the human connection isn't completely lost with automation, since the only step that's automated is the logging and tracking of communication.
Correspond with the person through a medium they're less active on.
I have a handful of friends who are LinkedIn influencers that I keep in touch with regularly. But instead of communicating with them through LinkedIn, where my comment will be lost in a sea of noise, I engage with them on platforms they're not as active on. I engage with one on Snapchat, another on Twitter and another via Facebook. This allows you to easily stand out.
Follow two golden rules of networking in the 21st Century.
- Don't fall in love with automation. Completely automating your correspondence with people in your network will more than likely come off as phony given it implies they're not worth your time. It's totally fine to automate the process of reminding you who you should reach out to by using the apps mentioned above, but the second it's obvious a canned email or message was sent autonomously, your authenticity will disappear faster than cookies and milk on Christmas morning.
- Don't be someone who's always asking for favors. Don't only reach out to someone when you need to ask for a favor from them. There will come a time when you do need to ask someone else for a favor, but that time shouldn't be premeditated.
A few months back, a contact I hadn't spoken to in a while reached out, asking to reconnect. Initially, I thought this person was reconnecting with me just to chat and catch up. Instead, a couple weeks later, they asked if I could help them with a lofty project at little to no cost, making it pretty damn clear the only reason this person reconnected with me was because they needed a favor from me. Don't do this. Instead, add value to those in your network by using Jordan Harbinger's technique above.
Networking is tough. Networking with high-profile, busy individuals while you're a busy person yourself is even tougher. Yet by applying principles from experts like Jordan Harbinger, you'll put yourself in a terrific position to become the best-connected person you can be. Best of luck.