How To Find, Grow And Keep Your Network
The value of your first, second and third degree contacts
What is the best way to build a solid network of relevant contacts?
The people you meet are your gold
In a lifetime we meet so many people. Every single one of them could be potentially interesting for you. That is why we are going to look at your contacts. We all have met and are meeting new people during our lives. Before the internet, we would meet people in another country or at a course, have a good time with them and then lose them out of sight. The internet has changed a lot. Through online social networks, we can easily stay connected or find them again. This doesn’t have to mean that we talk to them daily. There are varying degrees of staying connected with someone. I believe that your success is a product of the relationships you have. Whatever you are trying to achieve, you will get there faster by leveraging your network.
First, second and third degree contacts
Your network doesn’t only consist of the people you know. You can make a distinction between first, second and third degree contacts.
- First degree — People you know personally
- Second degree — The connections of the people you know personally
- Third degree—The connections of your second degree contacts
I have many examples of how being in contact with many people worked for me. I will share three of them.
- When I worked for the government, Twitter just became well-known. I met a lot of other early adopters from the government on that platform. I connected with the manager of a team I wanted to work for there, by asking him about this opinion on a certain topic. So before the job interview I had, months later when he was looking for someone, I already had been in contact with him, which obviously was not a bad thing!
- At a networking event, I met a man who was the partner of a consultancy firm. After the event, he connected with me on Twitter. While checking out his profile I realized that this consultancy firm was working on projects I was interested in. I asked him to meet again for a chat and coffee. This helped me to get to know him and his firm better and stay connected. It also gave me the change to show my interest in working at his firm. 4 Months later they were looking for someone and guess who got the job
- After I made my decision to move to Berlin I tried to connect with people who were already living there and were interested in a change management theory I liked (theory U). In a LinkedIn theory u group I asked if people were looking for some assistance or wanted to have a Skype call with me. I also send individual messages in which I shared more about my experience and future plans. They all replied and for one of them, I started working as a training assistant freelancer as soon as I arrived in Berlin.