Discover more from Happy AF with Phil Gerbyshak
A Thought Leader's Guide to Expanding Your Network and Amplifying Your Impact
Unlock Your Influence
Networking isn't just a strategy; it's a lifestyle, especially for thought leaders like us. But you can’t be accidental about it - you need to do it on purpose. Here's a first-person take on what has worked for me in expanding my sphere of influence the last 20 years, and it could do wonders for you too.
Ask for Help
Let's get this straight: Asking for help isn't a sign of weakness; it's a mark of wisdom. When I've reached out to others for advice or insights, not only have I learned something valuable, but I've also kickstarted a relationship based on mutual respect and learning.
Find a Mentor
I can't stress enough the value of mentorship. Finding someone who has walked the path I’m walking has saved me time and needless mistakes. But don't get caught in formalities. Your mentor could be someone whose blog you read or seminars you attend. The point is to learn and open doors to their network, broadening your own.
Be a Mentor
Now, turn the tables. Being a mentor has refined my understanding of my field and brought me fresh perspectives. Plus, it’s a reputation-builder. People appreciate it when you offer your time and wisdom, and they're likely to return the favor in kind.
Start a Podcast
I've found that running a podcast is a game-changer. It gives me a platform to share my thoughts and invites interesting guests who also bring along their followers. It's an enriching exchange of ideas and an excellent networking opportunity all in one.
Offer to Go on Others’ Podcasts
Why limit ourselves to just our podcasts? Being a guest on other shows expands our reach and lets us tap into pre-established audiences. It’s a win-win for all involved.
Hold Live Events
From webinars to workshops to panel discussions, hosting live events has been a goldmine for connections and brand exposure. It’s real-time interaction at its best, offering a dynamic exchange of ideas and invaluable networking opportunities.
Don't knock the classic professional gathering or industry-specific meetings. Attending these has helped me scope out the competition, meet potential collaborators, and catch up on trends. Don’t overlook these—I certainly haven’t.
Run a Mastermind
I love running quarterly masterminds focused on the challenges we all face. It’s a smaller, more committed group of professionals who hold each other accountable. The connections made here often turn into long-term collaborations.
Use Co-working Spaces
Here’s the thing about co-working spaces: It's not about the desk or the Wi-Fi; it's about the people. The entrepreneurs, freelancers, and professionals I've met in these shared environments have often led to unexpected and valuable collaborations.
Block Out a Networking Day
Time is of the essence. That's why I block out specific days or hours each week exclusively for networking. It keeps me committed and ensures that I’m constantly building and maintaining my professional relationships.
Call Someone in Your Network Daily
I make it a point to call someone from my network every day. It could be a quick chat or a deep dive into a specific issue. The idea is to keep the relationship alive and well. Trust me, the compound interest on daily networking is immense.
Host Virtual Open-Office Hours
In the digital age, open-door policies can be virtual too. I set aside a few hours each week when anyone can join me for a one-on-one virtual chat. It's an easy, low-barrier way to connect with people who are interested in what I have to offer, and every so often, these casual chats lead to major opportunities.
If you're a thought leader aiming to expand your network, remember that networking isn’t a one-off event but a continuous, intentional process. Keep the energy high, keep reaching out, and above all, never stop learning from the people around you.