1. Review your current list of contacts. Make sure to include everyone—as in everyone—you know. Also, include the people you have met the past five years or so, as long as you can recall the reason and situation of your meeting and you possess his/her contact information. How many contacts have you got in total?
a) Acquaintances – People you know very little about but whom you can contact in the next few months and he/she would know you from Adam
b) Associates – People you have met and had the chance to chat with at some point; people who know a little bit more about you and people you are able to connect with from time to time
c) Supporters – People who know you a bit more than your associates; people who signified intent and who is in position to support your aspirations
d) Circle of Influence (to borrow Stephen Covey’s term) – People you know and know you very well and has supported you in the past; people whom you can call to action when you need them
a) Calendar to contact your circle of influence every 4-6 weeks just to say hello and make a small talk.
b) Contact your acquaintances to set up a time for coffee to get to know more about his/her work or business. Listen and find ways by which you can help him/her with his work or business goals. Offer to do so.
c) Check out what’s going on with your associates and see how you can help in their current endeavors. Update them on yours. Plan to get together or chat on the phone to catch up.
d) Do something nice to your supporters, like recommending them to other people in your list, or offering to do some work to further their objectives.
Notice that in all the activities that I recommend, nowhere will you find “asking” your contacts for something; instead, offer to help as often as you can. The old adage applies in networking: “It is better to give than to receive”. By doing so, expect to receive ten-fold when you need help – not necessarily from the person to whom you provided assistance but definitely someone in your network. That’s how the karmic universe works.