In the earliest bits of my career, I spent a lot of time worrying that my lack of pedigree was holding me back. How much easier things would have be for me, I imagined, if only I’d attended a feeder school like Stanford or started out at a知名公司比如谷歌。
About two years ago, I realized I was encountering more and more problems where I didn’t know many folks who could provide advice, and at that point I started to get more intentional at building out my network. I didn’t start out with a structured approach, but over time it got clearer what was and what wasn’t working.
- 连接with new folks that you don’t already know.
Making initial connections
There are so many ways to meet folks professionally! Some are very effective, but don’t scale, like coffee chats. Others are extremely scalable, but only infrequently lead to a strong relationship, like冷采购. 十个不同的人可以用十个不同的结果尝试同样的方法，所以成功源于找出适合你个人的方法。
在工作中与人会面is by far the most effective way to build a large network. This is one of the easy to miss reasons why it’s so valuable to work at a couple of very large or rapidly growing companies. I’ve personally found rapidly growing companies to be thebest在工作环境中与同事见面，因为你和其他人的角色将迅速演变，很多新人总是在开始。
个人外展doesn’t scale, but it’s the most effective way to meet and develop relationships with folks. It’s easiest to get an introduction from someone I know, but even without, a short friendly email that asks a concise, interesting and relevant question almost always leads to a friendly new acquaintance. Sometimes this doesn’t work and you get ignored, which is totally fine. A big part of networking is getting comfortable with the fact that other folks are living their own lives, and sometimes are too busy to even respond to your note. It’s never personal.
招聘和面试is highly underrated as a way to meet fascinating people that you can learn from. Particularly when interviewing at a fast-growing company, I’ve first met a staggering number of amazing folks by interviewing them.Cold sourcingis another aspect of recruiting that has helped me met many folks.
Bloggingon this blog, Irrational Exuberance, is where I’ve channeled by far the most effort. In a perfect world, I’d be able to report that it’s been my leading source of connections, but so far that definitively untrue. Anecdotally, I feel like this might be on the cusp of changing if I continue writing at high-volume, but even then it would only be becoming true after a写作十年.
在会议上发言has效果很好对我来说，虽然我花了近十年的职业生涯才觉得自己有足够多有趣的事情要说，但我的公共演讲经历让我说得很好，而且我是一个合适的职业角色，在会议演讲中投入精力是符合企业需要的。也就是说，我说话的时候总是会遇到一群迷人的人，我发现这很有效。与之相比，它特别有效attendingconferences, which I’ve personally found rather ineffective for building relationships. (Although I’ll readily admit that this is in large part a function of how I work best, and they seem to work very well for some others.)
Writing a bookis mymost focused attemptat reaching a wider audience than my work or my blog. It’s far too early to imagine how this will work out, but I’m cautiously optimistic, and will write more as things unwind.
Speaking on podcasts是什么I experimented with last year, and I think they’re an effective way to reach new audiences of folks, some of whom will pop up for a discussion with you later. The ones I’ve done so far haven’t generated too many connections, but they tend to be a small commitment of time (for the guest speaker, not the producer!), which makes them effective.
聚会are difficult for me personally, as I’m introverted enough that by the end of the day I want to go home and recharge. However, I’ve met other folks who find them quite effective. Along the same lines as attending conferences, I’ve felt more comfortable attending as a speaker, where folks engage with you directly, than as an attendee.
Mycollege networkhas not been very effective for me, as I attended a small college in Kentucky. However, I know that for some folks their college network is extremely impactful, especially for folks from various feeding schools like Stanford, MIT or CMU.
When it’s ignored, your professional network decays gradually over time, so it’s important to continue to keep in touch with folks, not assuming that you can pop up for a favor years later.
Fortunately, most of the activities that are good for making initial connections also work well for staying engaged. For me personally, I’ve found that blogging, engaging on social media, and conference speaking have been quite effective at both. I also know that others find meetups to work well.
Many of the folks who’ve mastered networking at scale, like天井11andAndrew Chen，非常关注每周的时事通讯，以至于我最近决定尝试金沙手机APP我自己创造一个.It’s important to recognize though, what I’ve done is put up a mailing list that reads off this blog’s RSS feed. What those two have done is build high quality产品发生在伪装成邮件列表,和我suspect that success with this approach requires a great deal of focused intention.
也就是说，与人们保持联系的最可靠的方式是最明显的：给他们发一封深思熟虑的信，或者一年和他们喝几次咖啡。我自己也没用过，但我听人说他们用过set up a personal CRMto help them manage reengagement.
When identifying an approach that will work well for you, the most important criteria is that it’s something you’re able to continue doing over the long run. It’seasy to overcommit在这个领域，小规模的持续投资胜过偶尔的疯狂扩张。
对我有效的是为自己设定非常可实现的目标，以确保我在一段时间内保持投入。对于2018年，我设定了两个目标：（1）每月至少写一篇博客，（2）每个季度至少会见一位新的基础设施工程负责人。在我现在的角色and with我的写作习惯, these were easy goals to hit, and that was the point. The slow continued build is what’s important.
It’s also true that the occasional spike of activity is useful to accelerate this process, as long as you don’t overdo it so much that you subsequently have no energy for maintenance. For me, that spike has beenwriting my book做点什么更多的公开演讲，但我预计两者都会很快放慢脚步，而且我也不认为两者都是我与人交往的主要、可持续的部分。
教训rela带走的是建筑tionships is something that happens over years of intentional efforts. Don’t get discouraged if you feel invisible in your industry, almost everyone feels this way. Instead find a way that’s authentic and rewarding for you to slowly swell, expanding and maintaining the group of folks you can learn with along the way.