10 Ways to Grow Your Network and Break Out of Your Comfort Zone

by Kaye Putnam, Guest Contributor

Military spouses are natural networkers.

It is practically required of us, with our environment and friends getting shaken up every couple of years. Networking is the process of making friends and building relationships. In the arena of careers and businesses, relationships are a key to being successful.

While our military lifestyle give us opportunities to network (like FRG meetings, military balls and coffee socials), we can kick our relationship building up a notch by putting some effort into it. This month, resolve to be an adventurous networker.

10 Ways to Grow Your Network and Break Out of Your Comfort Zone

10 Ways to Incorporate Adventure into Your Networking

  1. Be interactive and accessible online via Facebook, LinkedIn, forums, and other platforms. Participate in groups that share your lifestyle (Military Spouse Entrepreneurs, Fort _______ Spouses, Military Spouse Etsy Shops, etc.) and invite people to connect with you. Better yet, reach out and connect with someone you have something in common with.
  2. Join as many in-person groups as you have time for. Book clubs, spouse clubs, playgroups, professional networking groups (In Gear Career, Chamber of Commerce, Young Entrepreneurs, etc.) are ripe for building relationships if you approach them with the desire to learn about other people–not broadcast about yourself.
  3. Make a real, planned effort to stay in touch with colleagues and friends that you‘ve moved away from. You already have the relationship built with them, it just needs to be maintained.
  4. Attend events that interest you, even if you won’t know a soul there. Pushing outside of your comfort zone will force you to make connections that you wouldn’t have otherwise.
  5. Be authentic in everything you do. By showing people the real (and sometimes vulnerable) side of yourself, you give yourself the chance to build meaningful relationships with other people.
  6. Help others more than you ask for help. Look for ways that you can be of value to other people. By helping as many other people as possible, you will be surprised how many doors will open for you.
  7. Practice starting conversations with strangers. Make it a game to figure out what you have in common, as quickly as possible.
  8. Kindly request to have a friend share her network. Ask your friends and people you already know if they can give you one person that you don’t know yet that you could connect with (that you would have something in common with).
  9. Take a relationship that you have online and figure out a way to kick it up a notch. Have a Skype conversation, talk on the phone or (best yet) figure out a way to meet in person.
  10. Reach out to the people that you admire (even if they are ridiculously successful, influential or whatever) and thank them for the impact that they have made on your life. Don’t ask for anything– just give them a powerful testimonial for their work.

Kaye Putnam (@marketingkayeis a brand strategist for entrepreneurs. When she’s not helping clients inject more personality into their businesses, she loves making new career-minded military spouse friends, hosting dinner parties, and exploring her island home in Hawaii. You can find more about her and listen to her branding podcast at KayePutnam.com

5 COMMENTS

  1. This post is well-timed for me! I’m moving soon (Monday!) and I am really wanting to make new friends and get a new job. One piece of advice that really helped me is “be interested, not interesting.” I’m shy, so starting conversations with strangers is tough, but it kind of took the heat off to try to think of things to ask someone else about instead of trying to make myself seem cool. Bookmarking this post!

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