I’ll tell you about a simple trick that you can use for building your network and community.
I think it’s relevant now as people start to ask questions like…
“Is now a good time to apply for new jobs?” or “How do I build a network online, I’ve only really done it in person?”
Networking and community building isn’t so much a skill as it is a habit. Meaning; it’s not about saying or doing the right specific thing so much as it is being in the habit of acting from a certain place.
For years I’ve been a network almost wholly online. Many of whom turn into IRL friends but almost all who started digitally.
I think this approach works regardless if you’re trying to connect with a mentor, a new friend, or a company to be hired by.
See, most people have a vision for what they want their life to be. Or maybe a vision for their business, or who they could be at work.
The simplest way to connect with someone online… the best form of “networking”…
Is simply to become an advocate of that cause or vision.
You “ join their team.”
This is different than being a fan. Fans admire and often lower their own status in relation to the star of the show.
Joining someone’s team is about saying “I see where you’re trying to go, let me help you get there.”
And, “I see where you’re trying to go, I’m really interested in that, I wonder if my skills would be useful to you in that journey?”
A fan is in the crowd.
A team member is helping out backstage.
So to join their team you can buy their product. You can get involved with their mission. You can join, or even better, start, an advocacy group that helps their cause.
You can offer your services and describe how they align with the outcomes they seek.
You can provide helpful feedback. “Hey, do you have any early readers giving you feedback on your new book?”
“Hey, I really love what you’re working on, and I just bought your product and think it’s phenomenal. I’m curious, why don’t you have a Forum for your customers? Maybe I could start one.”
“Hey, I see you’re trying to grow this Youtube channel, but it looks like no one is editing your videos… I’m sure that’s a pain. Have you ever thought about having someone cut edits for you?”
I think mentally you can sort of “join someone’s team” before they even ask you to. At least that’s how I approach it.
When I love a brand or someone’s work, I feel like I’m rooting for them.
When I speak with someone new, I like to listen and hear what their vision is for the world, and then orient our conversation towards how we can both make that a reality.
When I email all of you, I feel as if I’m in your corner, nudging you to achieve what you believe you are able to.
And here’s the thing about “networking” and community building.
If I feel like I’m on someone else’s team, and they feel that way too.
It’s not so long after that they feel like they’re on my team, too…