If you want to grow your personal and/or professional network of contacts faster, find points in common with the people you want to connect with.
I spoke with a group of 40 people recently about how to network more effectively.
Several questions were posed.
The one I want to address today is on the topic of initiating a relationship with an alumnus from your college who you’ve never met before.
Why an alumnus from your alma mater?
Because, depending on the college/university you attended, it could be a very strong connection point…
Most people feel some kind of connection to their alma mater. I’ve learned–having graduated from a small, liberal arts, all-male college in central Indiana–that the more intimate the school (typically a consequence of the college or university’s population) the greater the affinity to feeling a close connection. So if you graduated from a relatively less populated college or university, this could be a great strategy for you to leverage. If you attended a larger, public college/university, this could still be a valuable commonality to leverage.
I can’t say it will always work seamlessly; but, typically, it will be a great starting point for initiating interest from a person you’re attempting to connect with.
IDENTIFY YOUR TOP 5
Access your alma mater’s alumni directory. Most schools should have one. If not, reach out to the career center at your college/university and ask for a list of alumni that fit whatever criteria you’re looking for (e.g. Live in Indiana. Lawyer. Graduated between 2000 and 2010). If you want to grow your network, you must start reaching out. Do not get too critical of who specifically you should be connecting with. Whether you need to start building or rebuilding your network, it’s a simple matter of following NIKE’s advice and, “JUST DO IT!” Choose 5 people you will reach out to and then…
(*Email or LinkedIn are the top two means for an initial cold contact with a fellow alumni.)
Results will only follow intentional action.
Let me know your challenges and/or successes after taking action. I’d love to help you further. Send me an email at CONNECT@jjpeller.com. I’m here to help you grow your network of friends in the world, and ultimately, your sphere of influence.