As my office gets ready to a voluntary return I have found myself looking forward to reigniting some comradery, exchanging hearty handshakes, and generally seeing folks around – even it is only once or twice a week. I’m lucky to have had an office with a gym, where I initially had built most of my network. This was especially important to me since I don’t typically drink alcohol. Recently, I’ve been thinking, “what if I hadn’t been that lucky? what if I was starting now and didn’t have that as a way to build a network?”
Here are some ideas I thought of:
- Add value by flexing your idea muscle early & often – share ideas with cross-functional partners, with friends who are in other businesses, with the internet, etc. If you are adding value with ideas people are going to be more interested in talking with you.
- Have at least one community that you’re involved in, in person. This could be: gym communities (cross-fit, jiu-jitsu, and yoga), church, local park, volunteering, golf, tennis, basketball, camping, fishing, hiking etc. This is also, in my opinion, the best way to meet a mate: there is already a self-selection process into doing the activity you are choosing to prioritize which leads to a greater chance of alignment in values.
- Have at least one community that you’re involved in virtually. This could be a discourse channel, a cohort of a course you’re interested in, toast masters, etc. It is good to have one of these already established in the event that you cannot participate in #2.
- Use social media like a pro / digital minimalist: pick a couple channels, consistently add value, don’t scroll.
- Deepen the relationships you already have, intentionally, with scheduled calls. As time goes on and lives get busier, you’d be surprised how well you’re able to keep up with someone by having a scheduled call with them twice a year. Take these calls walking when you can, you’ll be more engaged and be healthier for it.