It isn’t the size of your professional network that matters – especially if you want to have a diverse network – it is about the value it brings, so it’s about having the right connections.
Building your network won’t be a one-off activity, you will probably continue to add to your network as you find new people, and you may even remove people from your network if they no longer provide you with any value. You shouldn’t feel bad about doing that, after all it is YOUR network and you need to ensure that it is bringing you value.
Ask yourself: do you want to follow people who reinforce your current thinking or challenge you to think differently? Probably a bit of both! Read: Why you need to diversify your networking circles
So start small and build up your connections slowly. You don’t have to connect with someone, unless you want to. Read: The Dunbar number, from the guru of social networks
Where will you find people to follow? Here are some ideas
- Start with connecting with internal colleagues.
- Then consider external colleagues from the professional associations you belong to, customers, clients, even competitors.
- Then think about public social networks and connect with industry or professional experts, thought leaders, commentators, analysts, colleagues, vendors, etc.
Also consider how you might find new connections to diversity your professional network through
- Word of mouth
- Recommendations in published lists
- Viewing the connections of others
- Serendipity – stumbling upon people by accident
Read: 5 effective networking strategies for the digital age. This article suggests you connect with someone new every week. Is this something you could commit to? Write an entry in your Learning Log with your plans for making new connections.