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How to create a professional network built for success?

If you are just the average of the five people you spend the most time with, how does this affect your network? A network is not only your connections on your LinkedIn, Google+, and Facebook account, but rather a set of relationships that create value for you and for them. They are the people who bring the best in you and in the community. Therefore, if you spend a significant amount of time with people who have no ambition, constantly complain, or are pessimistic – you will not be able to succeed. These individuals will not help you go far in life.

No one can succeed without a network, and no one can succeed alone. So how does one strengthen the network they already have? Or build a network that will help them succeed in their career and life?

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Rania Habiby Anderson – the foremost expert on the career advancement of businesswomen in developing and emerging economies, a global speaker, and an executive coach – shared her insights into how to build a network for success at America House. Below are some of the important steps she highlighted in how to become professionally successful.

How does one build a 360° network?

A 360° network is comprised of people who are: older and more influential; junior and early in their career; inside your organization and industry; and people outside your field. When you have all aspects of this part of your network, then your network is strong. Furthermore, it is important to have strong and weak relationships. Strong ties build bonds, while weak ties build bridges. Strong ties include people who you know well and always have your support, while weak ties get you to places you can’t get on your own. Weak ties, or people with whom you are not as close, help you build bridges from where you are to where you want to go. Through this, you are exposed to a new set of people and a new set of ideas. You need both sets of relationships in your life. Therefore, your strong network is supposed to encompass such a variety of people and ties.

What is the difference between mentors and sponsors?

Three things will help you succeed when executing a plan or a design:

  1. What you do – the results.
  2. How you do it.
  3. Who knows about it – audience your trying to capture.

However, a lot of the times we have a problem with the third question – who knows about it. It is important to understand the differences between a mentor and a sponsor. A mentor talks to you in private, gives you their time, and tells you what you should do to be successful. However, we do not always need a mentor who is sharing advice, but sometimes we need somebody who will stand up for us and talk about us to others. We need more sponsors in our lives to become more successful. Sponsors talk about you in public, provide you with opportunities and introductions, and make success happen for you.

How does one network?

We need to stop random networking. You need to be intentional, purposeful, prepared, and consistent when developing your personal network. When one arrives at an event, there are some strategies you should follow to become more successful.

  1. Always arrive a little early and introduce yourself to the event organizer.  By doing so, you can ask the organizer questions about the attendees.

  2. Know a story and know your story. Your story is not your title, but rather what you do and what differentiates you from others. It is important to make a good impression on the person you are trying to sway or work with in the future. It is also important for them to remember you. Your contact may have met hundreds of marketing assistants at the event – what differentiates you from them?

  3. Meet new people. Anderson gives the tip that 70% of the time needs to be spent with people you do not know. Additionally, do not speak only to one gender. She shares that the biggest mistake people do after an event happened is that they do not follow up. You need to continuously work on the ties you are trying to build.

To learn more about the steps needed in order to become successful, watch the full video.


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About the Author

Maryna Markowicz is...