How to Grow Your Network (By Being a Lovely Person)

Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 6.26.01 PMThere are certain times in life when it’s just EASIER to make new friends.

Kindergarten.

The first week of middle school.

The first week (year) of college.

The first week(s) of Periscope. (I’m @nikkielledge, BTW :))

After that…you’re on your own.

You may be the only newbie in the office – or the only new mom at Gymboree class.

(I use this example because I totally chickened out of asking “Ellie’s mom” for her number years ago at a Gymboree class, and I still regret it. But that’s an awkward tale for another day.)

Point is: How are you supposed to make new friends (ahem…”build your network”…) when you work ALONE all day?

Why does it seem like everybody already KNOWS everybody – and how the heck did they meet each other, anyway?

I’ve cracked the code, my friend. (See? We’re basically friends already. #onedown)

And I’m gonna share it with you today.

FACT: It’s totally possible to make new friends + biz buddies from the comfort of your couch. Or your (safely parked) car.

And the most proactive way to get the social ball rolling is to friend it forward.

In today’s video, we’ll cover:

  • what the hey I mean by “friend it forward” (wish I’d thought of that before I recorded the video, BTW)
  • why it’s so important to share not just WHAT you know, but who you know
  • how to match your buddies into mutually beneficial connections
  • how to introduce them without making anybody feel awkward or uncomfortable

Click below to watch (or take a listen):

Click here to watch directly on YouTube.

IN A (COCO)NUT SHELL

Step 1. Brainstorm potential matches in your existing network.

This new connection needs to be mutually beneficial, so it won’t feel lopsided. If they can both help each other in some way and you think they’d get along, SWEET. Move on to step 2.

NOTE: These don’t have to be your best buddies, BUT you do need to know them well enough to be confident they’ll open your email because your next step is toooo….

Step 2. Privately seek permission to introduce ’em to each other.

No surprises here! Send a quick text or email to ask each party if s/he’s interested in the intro (and explain WHY s/he would be). Once you’ve got the all clear…

Step 3. Send a very brief, benefit-driven introduction via email.

Here’s an actual example of a match I made earlier this year.

Female Entrepreneur Association founder Carrie Green shares tremendously valuable content every. single. week, and I know Lucky B Denise Duffield-Thomas *hearts* interviews.

#steponecomplete

Asked if they’d be down to meet each other, got two thumbs up, and right on to step 3:

SUBJ: Denise, meet Carrie, meet Denise :)

Hi lovelies!

This weekend between texting Carrie + pinning Denise mantras I realized y’all haven’t “met” yet, aaaaand that just won’t do.

Carrie – as you’ve heard from me (+ many members of the Members Club), Denise‘s approach to money mindset is delightfully fun, real, and refreshing.

DeniseCarrie‘s a gem of a human being, and her ability to unite + inspire our fellow female entrepreneurs is unparalleled. Your message would be a great addition to her library of vids + resources!

Can’t wait to see what comes of the connection :)

Nik

Once this interview happens, you can bet your booty I’ll share it on my FB page, which is actually……

Step 4. Step back + enjoy!

You’ve done your job :) If these two work on something together, promote it and spread the love. You’re like the fairy godmother here, after all!

BONUS TIP: If you’re comfy enough with a friend to ask for an intro to someone she knows (but you don’t know yet), GO FOR IT. Why not? Sometimes all you’ve gotta do is ask – as long as you’ve added value to this particular friend and she’d love to help create that connection. (Maybe she doesn’t know y’all haven’t met yet!) She can then privately ask the other friend if she’s down for the intro, and then you move right into step 3 :)

BOTTOM LINE(S): Everybody wins here. When you facilitate beautifully beneficial connections for others, they will want to do the same for you.

Your network gets bigger and bigger, and the world gets smaller and smaller.

So get out there and start makin’ those matches, will you?

The positive (profitable!) energy + warm fuzzies will come back to you in ways you can’t even imagine :)

 

YOUR HOMEWORK: MISSION MATCHMAKER

Over the next seven days: Take the challenge + follow the steps to introduce two of your biz buddies and let me know how it goes!

For TODAY, in the comments below, tell me:

Have you ever benefited from a friendly introduction? Got any simple, non-scary network-growing tips to add?

Bring ’em on. We’ll build a bank of goodness.

To the abundance of grateful biz buddies in your future,

nik

P.S. If you liked this post + want to help me spread the word by using the links below to share it with your buddies, I would greatly appreciate it! You can also subscribe to my YouTube channel if you’d like to see new videos before I’ve had time to turn them into blog posts ;)

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LET’S TALK ABOUT IT.

  1. John Koen

    Hey Nikki,

    Awesome advice. I hadn’t thought of doing a warm-up email before making an intro. I’ve been bombarded by intros before and they came out of nowhere. I like the idea of asking first.

    I’ve been on the lookout for FB Groups to expand my network and connect with like minded peeps lately. This is great advice to connect with some of those folks personally.

    Thanks,

    John Koen

    1. Nikki Elledge Brown

      Absolutely, John. Introduce others as you’d like to be introduced ;)

      Happy matchmaking!

  2. Nicky Remkes

    Thanks for this gem Nikki. Love step 2 – this would be hugely valuable.

    I live in beautiful New Zealand and if anyone wants a connection down here or advise on what to do in NZ just sing out.

    I’m an event manager with my own Business ‘Tom Dick and Harry’ so if you know of anyone wanting to conference in NZ I would love to help them out.
    nicky@tomdickandharry.org.nz

    1. Chantelle

      Nicki, I am a Speaking Coach and work with women all over the world who are looking to speak and host their own events to share their powerful message and so we should connect because I would love to share your info with anyone looking to host their own event in that part of the world!

      Oh this is so fun, thanks Nikki!

      This is actually what really really really lights me up… CONNECTING and yet I have felt so disconnected in this online space and this is such a beautiful reminder of what is truly important doesn’t have to be hard and just needs to be done :) xoxo

      1. Chantelle

        Oops, I am sorry, I hit i instead of y Nicky!!!!! xoxo

  3. Brennen

    Nikki — Simply brilliant as usual! Thanks for this “Friend it Forward” outline and mission. Mahalo.

  4. Laurie

    Nikki! This is fantastic. Helping others network is my zone of YES!!! I love your FIF advice. Connecting people is such a valuable gift especially when you are helping 2X Love It!

    My non scary biz-networking tip: It’s absolutely okay to ask for an introduction. How do you do this? You should create a wish list of the connections you want in your life. Do the digging (into your existing contacts, research on the web) to see who you already know that KNOWS that desired person, or if this person will be at any upcoming events! This could shorten the chain and link you closer to your goal. Always go into an opportunity like this with a helpful mind (how can I help, that’s when great things happen for both parties).

    Thank you for the wonderful post and such a great homework for people “Mission MatchMaker” Love It!!!!

    Laurie

    1. Laurie

      Your BONUS tip nails this :)

      1. Nikki Elledge Brown

        Exactly! It’s a perfect example of “if you don’t ask, the answer is always ‘no.'”

        It can feel scary, but when you’re asking with the right intention and a genuine relationship – the potential reward is totally worth the risk.

  5. connie curtis

    great information. I did an introduction before but never followed up with them to see what happened. I am gluten intolerance and food allergy coach. I take people through the essentials and more to go from surviving to thriving. I am looking for podcasts around this audience.Anything around food, paleo, grainfree or eating healthy. I would love to meet anyone I could help them around this areas of their business. Help them out and maybe connect them to someone they dont know or promote their business.

    1. Nikki Elledge Brown

      Great, Connie – and thanks for putting that offer out :)

  6. Malika

    Hey Nikki! This has been super valuable to me thank You! It’s really got things moving in the right direction and cleared a massive block to growing my business I’m so grateful and excited x Malika x

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