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As we dive into this 52-week journey, I’ll issue the “Hey, Friend” Challenge. One of the top principles in networking is to make things personal. This means getting beyond the following scenario:

Me: “Hey, how are you?”

You: “Great, really busy. What about you?”

Me: “Same – busy, but good, you know?”

You: “Yes, well, gotta go.”

We are surrounded by people we *think* we know. I call these people our “hey friends”. They are our neighbors, work colleagues, daycare parents, classmates, and Facebook friends. Here is a question about all of these people in your life: how well do you know them? When is the last time you’ve had a meaningful conversation with someone you see all of the time, but don’t know anything about? How well do you really know your social media friends?

That’s where the challenge comes in. Here’s how it works:

  1. Write down the name (or description if you don’t know the person’s name) of someone you see often, but don’t know anything about. It could be someone who is at the coffee shop or gym the same time as you every day; a person you are always in the elevator with at work; the front desk manager at your apartment complex or work building.
  2. This week, take action to get to know something about this person. Connect with them beyond the scenario above. Figure out what you have in common. Learn about your differences. Tell them about this challenge and that you’d like to know more about them.
  3. Invite your friends to join this challenge.
  4. Comment below or through one of my social sites on how this works out for you and what connections you were able to make. I’ll feature my favorite stories in a future column!

If you want some help with the “Hey, Friend” Challenge, click here for motivation and sign up to receive a daily tip directly to your inbox.

Who do you plan to reach out to? If this challenge makes you nervous or you aren’t quite sure where to begin, reach out to me today. I’d be happy to spend 30 minutes with you to discuss your goals and help devise a networking action plan.

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Small Town Leadership Founder; Natalie believes everything she needed to know to succeed in her career she learned by growing up in a town of 600 people. As a Certified Professional Coach and award-winning public speaker, she helps her clients and audiences make wherever they are feel like a small town. She lives in Dublin, Ohio with her husband, Rob, a professor at Ohio State and two little girls.

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