With the growth of social media platforms, it is now significantly easier to establish, maintain, and reconnect with individuals. Platforms such as LinkedIn provide a web of networks that allow you to reach out to folks that are within your 1st, 2nd, or even 3rd degree of separation in just one click.
It wasn’t always this easy. In fact, if we take a look back at how people connected, shared ideas, and built relationships throughout history, you’ll have a better appreciation for the accessibility that we have now!
With all this accessibility that makes networking almost effortless, I was surprised to read statistics that one in four people don’t network at all. To me, this is rather alarming because what many people don’t realize is that you don’t have to establish a new relationship to expand your network. If you change the lens that you are using to define your network, I am pretty sure you’ll come to the realization that people you see on a day-to-day basis: brothers, sisters, cousins, friends, neighbors, may in fact be the most beneficial network that you can possibly have.
Take an inventory of people you know very well that are outside of your work environment. Each of these individuals either has an office job, in which they have specific skills that you may or may not have, or are working on a side-project that requires specialization in a skill. You already have a firmly established relationship with these individuals so half of the work is already done. All that’s left is to understand how each of you can benefit from each other’s experiences and how you can build a network off of the mutually beneficial connection.
Does anyone know what this number represents?
The Theory of Dunbar states that a person can only maintain a stable and meaningful relationship with approximately 150 individuals. If this theory is in fact true, wouldn’t you want that to be with people who ACTUALLY know you as a human, who can confide in you, and not think of you as the creepy LinkedIn request that I have absolutely no connections with?
Don’t be a LinkedIn creep. We are all guilty (I most definitely am) but we can all change.
For some additional insight on The Dunbar Theory, here is a TED talk with Robin Dunbar that discusses the behavioral evolution of humans:
One of the most important components to becoming a successful professional in any field is the ability to establish long-term relationships with clients. As a photographer, this is vitally important because your clients are portals to potential new leads and opportunities. As much as I leverage technology and social media platforms, I understand, and rely heavily, on the face-to-face moments that often become catalysts for future opportunities. Physical networking is still just as important as virtual networking. Take a look at some of these statistics presented by www.greatbusinessschools.org:
This past February, I had a chance to connect with a colleague of mine, Rianka Dorsainvil, from the good ol’ Virginia Tech days (Go Hokies!). Rianka is the founder and president of Your Greatest Contribution (YGC), a virtual fee-only comprehensive financial planning firm that is dedicated to serving the busy professional. She is an industry leader and has received a handful of recognitions that include, but are not limited to, the following:
2018 Rising Star Award by Investment News
10 Young Advisors to Watch by Financial Adivsor (FA)
2015 Top 40 under 40 by Investment News
Here's a snippet of Rianka representing for all the Certified Financial Planners (CFPs) in the world:
The success of YGC has left Rianka with deep industry knowledge, an established network, and cemented some lessons learned.
Now she was ready to share her new initiative with the world:
The 2050 Trailblazers is a podcast that aims to provide authentic dialogue surrounding the topics of diversity and inclusion within the financial services industry. As part of this initiative, Rianka reached out to me for some new portraits and headshots that would reflect the vision she had for this new project.
Once she told me the story and expressed her vision, I was absolutely sold.
Rianka is a trailblazer within her rightful self, but to bring awareness to the financial planning industry AND to address the concerns of diversity across an industry that deeply lacks representation is something else.
I immediately went to work on planning for the shoot. Her passion for her project was contagious and began to fuel my engine. With a lot of passion and a little bit of creativity, we were able to have an amazing photoshoot! Check out a few examples of my work below, which has also been featured in a Forbes article!
I can’t wait to see what Rianka does with 2050 Trailblazers. I will certainly be tuning in and I hope you do as well.
I hope that the one thing you take from this is that you don’t have to look far to establish genuine and authentic relationships. All you have to do is change the lens in which you see people that you already have built relationships with. Your network is stronger than it may appear.
Well there’s one more thing: Don’t be a LinkedIn creep that requests strangers.