In this article about how to network effectively, Forbes builds off of the “strength of weak ties” concept that we discussed in class. As a refresher, the idea here is that if you’re looking for a job (for example), you’re much more likely to get a great lead or opportunity through someone you don’t know that well (a weak tie), like an acquaintance, than you are from someone who you know really well. This is because the people you know really well are part of your immediate network, which is probably pretty interconnected so the people your friend knows are probably the same people you know anyway. However, an acquaintance who doesn’t have very many relationships with the same people as you has connections to a whole different collection of people so they can let you know about opportunities that come from people that you don’t know, and would only know of through them. Forbes provides the following pointers on how best to capitalize on these “weak ties” (since it can be much tougher to ask for something from someone you don’t really know):
Allow yourself to be known: Let people know what you’re about so they know what kind of opportunities you’d be interested in.
Help, then look to be helped: If you offer to help someone out, they’re much more likely to try to help you out in return.
Have an ask – and don’t be afraid to make it: You should know what you’re looking for and be able to articulate it succinctly.
Follow up to say thank you: Say thank you to be nice and because it will make the person who helped you more likely to offer more help in the future.