9 Exercises That Will Make You a Better Networker

This article is powered by the SMU Sport Management Program.

By: Jake Kelfer, @jakekelfer

Building relationships is critical for success in the sports industry! Photo via Jake Kelfer

Building relationships is critical for success in the sports industry! Photo via Jake Kelfer

Building a network takes time. The number one thing to remember is that networking is about authenticity. It is not just about what people can do for you, but rather, it is about creating a mutually benefitting relationship.

BEGINNER

1.     Visualize yourself having a conversation with someone you want to meet.

2.     Smile at a stranger.

3.     Invite someone you already know out for coffee or a drink.

These three exercises are designed to start making you feel more comfortable with the idea of networking. These exercises aren’t anything new to you but merely suggested to help improve communication and your mindset.

INTERMEDIATE

1.     Connect with at least 1 person on LinkedIn daily for a month.

2.     Find 10 people in your desired field and get their contact information.

3.     Reconnect with someone you’ve worked with or did an informational interview with.

These exercises are designed to build your network. They require you to do research and take action.  Doing these exercises will help you maintain and grow your network leading to more connections and opportunities.

ADVANCED

1.     Start a conversation with someone you don’t know at a restaurant or market.

2.     Set up 2 informational interviews every week.

3.     Build a relationship with an influencer by using a combination of social media platforms.

These advanced exercises combine courage, creativity, and discipline to become a better networker. These exercises require that you take time to build your relationships and can be a great way to improve your job standing while also learning more about people you’ve always wanted to connect with.

November Challenge 

The first 5 people to show me proof of completion at the end of the month will receive a signed copy of my book.

1.     Connect with 7 people on LinkedIn daily.

2.     Get the contact information for 30 people in your desired field.

3.     Conduct 10 informational interviews. 

Hint: I will count as a LinkedIn connection as long as your request is customized. My contact info is jake@jakekelfer.com. I will gladly be one of your informational interviews. Just visit jakekelfer.com and sign up for a 15-minute call.

For many of you, these exercises will be difficult. For many of you, these exercises will be easy. Regardless of how difficult or easy they are for you, it is important to understand that by doing these exercises, you are taking action and building a bigger and better network. Networking is about creating genuine, mutually benefitting relationships in all aspects of life.

Once you do these exercises, let me know what you think. What was your favorite? What provided the most value? What was the most challenging? Let me know your thoughts or other exercises so we all can continue to become better networkers.

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