How to become a master collaborator? 5 top tips
Who said networking was overrated? Being an effective collaborator, is a crucial skill that can get you access to the right people or open up a world of opportunities that you may not have appreciated had existed.
So how can you get started? Here are our 5 top tips!
- Do your homework: depending on your career goals, understand who the key players are, or who they could be, in your circle of influence. Draw a small circle on a piece of paper and think about all the key 3-5 people that could have significant influence for you (e.g., sponsors or senior people who could advocate for you). Write them down. Draw another circle (on the outside of the first circle) and now think about the broader group of stakeholders who could add value to your career (e.g. coaches, mentors, stakeholders in your organisation or sub-organisation, clients and so on). Draw a third circle (the outer most circle) and now think about the unlikely collaborators – force yourself to get creative (e.g. 3rd party organisations with some link to your organisation/industry/career where there could be value in partnering together, media representatives, bloggers). Combined these are who you can see as your key stakeholders in your eco-system.
- Actually network: for every person you meet in your circle of influence, ask them to introduce you to one or two more people.
- Give back: The key to effective networking that is not based on just having coffees(!) is offering value to those who you network with so it is a mutually beneficial relationship from the start. Think of what you are offering before you ask for that introduction or meet a new person. It could be simply a point of view, some advice, further introductions and so on.
- Do what you say: It’s easy to make promises when you’re networking – “I’ll send you that document”, “I’ll connect you with Chloe” etc – you’ll stand out more if you actually follow up promptly on what you promised. It also makes it easier to get your next meeting with that person or for them to introduce you to another person in their network.
- Review and refresh: Everything around you is constantly changing… your organisation, your industry, new strategies/products or services are being developed, new players come, existing players move on and potentially to new areas. Stay connected with your network to understand recent changes and think about how that may change your circle of influence mentioned above.
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