In this article, I challenge you to dig into your existing network in order to uncover opportunities and identify gaps. I’ve got a downloadable template ready for 52 Weeks of Meaningful Connections readers HERE.
Once you’ve got the template handy, break your network down into the following categories:
Inner Circle – Close connections and friends you call on for advice & keep updated on business and professional development. Your “go-to” network.
Secondary Connections – People you see or communicate with regularly and know generally what is happening in your professional life. You can have more than have casual conversation when provided the opportunity.
Peripheral Players – People you have had limited interactions with, but acknowledge in passing. You could have more formal dialogue or interactions with these people if asked or had the right material to share.
Dream Team – People you have not had any interaction with, but have always wanted to know better or meet 1:1.
I recommend doing this exercise over the course of several days. Here are some ways to make sure you are capturing the most relevant people:
- Take a look at your calendar. Who do you meet with frequently, or who have you met recently that you could include?
- Glance through your social media connections. Who are influencers or people you admire from afar that might be included in your dream team?
- Think back to previous jobs, school, and community groups. Who might you be forgetting that was once a pivotal player in your network?
Once you have these jotted down, think about your personal and professional goals. How might you call on this network to help you? Where do you have gaps in your network when, if filled, could help you gain traction toward your goal? Who in your network might be able to connect you?
The uses for this tool are unlimited. You could even make different maps for different goals, areas of your life, or projects.
One of my favorite things is to meet with people to talk to them about their experience completing this exercise. If you’ve taken the time to do this work, I’d love to take the time to speak with you about it.
If you’d like to take me up on this offer, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be happy to spend 30 minutes discussing your experience and help you uncover even more opportunity with your network.
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