You’ve got to cast the net wide if you want to narrow the field.
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Everything in life stems from relationships, and humans thrive on community. In an interview with the Scientific American, UCLA Social Cognitive Neuroscience Lab Director Matthew Lieberman shared that significant data has proven that humans suffer in the absence of social bonds. In recent years, the buzzword “tribe” has come to mean much more than its dictionary definition of a “human social group.” Rather, a “tribe” now encompasses one’s friends, family and peers. It’s a core tenet of who we are. Given that, here are four foundational networking tips for finding and building your tribe.
Related: Building the Right Network for Your Business
1. Talk to everyone, everywhere.
A foundational principle of many successful people is their desire to talk to everyone, no matter where they are. In the 20 Under 20s podcast, Priceline co-founder Jeff Hoffman noted that he’ll even strike up a conversation with someone standing next to him in a Chipotle line. He shared the story of his good friend, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, who happened to talk with his future wife Serena Williams at Chipotle many years ago without knowing it was her. You never know who you’ll meet and how they can serve your network down the line.
2. Ask friends and connections for introductions.
It’s likely that the friends and connections that currently form your tribe are connected to similar people who share your values and motivations, and a warm introduction always goes further than a cold email. Succeed Socially notes that this easy tactic can actually help you understand how far your potential network goes. If you can be friends with all the friends of all your friends, that’s quite the tribe.
Be specific in asking for introductions, too. If you’re looking to build a tribe of fellow digital-marketing gurus, for example, ask your current friends and connections for this specificity. But it’s also recommended to keep these specifications more open-ended, and instead ask to meet people who are looking to grow personally this year or who are hard workers.
Related: 3 Proven Strategies for Growing Your Network
3. Never think you’ve outgrown your mentors.
The most essential member of any tribe is a mentor, and a common mistake many make is undermining a mentor’s importance once they’ve reached a certain threshold in their career. Dustin Moura, founder of invite-only networking mastermind The Tribe, believes that we should continue seeking mentors of different ages and experiences throughout our lives. “When you judge people by the perception of their value, you miss out in the long-term,” he shared in a recent interview. “I seek to find mentors who have different points of view and come from different industries, because I believe you can learn from anyone regardless of their background or experience. You just need to keep an open mind and don’t come in with expectations.”
4. Keep communication consistent.
How often have you had a great first networking chat with someone, only to lose touch and never speak again? Hold yourself accountable by sending yourself reminders for two to three months following your first conversation, and upon receiving said reminders, send an update email or text to check in with your connection.
Another interesting hack to help do this at scale is through Google Alerts. Lauren Berger, CEO and founder of internship-expertise service InternQueen, recommends creating a Google Alert linked to the names of people who you really want to stay connected with. That way, if something big happens in their life and they land press for it, you’ll be immediately notified and can reach out to congratulate them.
With these tips, your tribe will continue to grow and strengthen, delivering onnections, referrals, opportunities and, most important of all, true belonging.