How you can create a useful network in a few weeks

Since you’re reading this, chances are you’re interested in working out loud for yourself or for your organization. So here’s something specifically for you. It’s a set of simple steps you can take to build a global network in a few weeks - one that will increase your learning and your access to opportunities, and will make your every day more enjoyable.

Having such a network is like having a superpower. And it’s so easy that some of you may wonder why you haven’t done it already.

Edna Mode - Luck favors the prepared

Edna Mode - Luck favors the prepared

Applying the contribution checklist

The key is applying the contribution checklist from last week, starting with the simplest contributions that advance the relationship slightly to contributions that take more time to create but can be much more valuable and meaningful.

Here’s a short version of that checklist again:

  1. Connect.
  2. Show appreciation.
  3. Share learning
  4. Connect the dots
  5. Ask a question
  6. Answer a question
  7. Offer feedback
  8. Share your experience
  9. Offer original ideas
  10. Connect a purposeful group

The people in your network

The people on your relationship list will be those practicing working out loud and writing about it. You can find them by playing Internet detective and searching online, including looking in places where such people might congregate. For example:

Scan the results, looking at an individual’s profile and posts, and identify people who seem interesting to you. Then add them to your relationship list.

In a few minutes, you’ll readily find people who've written books and blogs, who are linchpins in their organizations, and who have practiced working out loud for their own benefit. Here’s a tiny sample, spanning 8 countries, that you can use to get started:

The contributions you can make

Once you have a list of names, you can use the checklist to help you make contributions. You’ll start by offering the universal gifts of recognition and contribution. Read what people on your list are saying, and follow them if you like. If you appreciate something in particular, offer thanks (or a Like, Favorite, or comment).

Since you’re already reading about working out loud, share the material you’ve found to be most useful (like this or this or this). Then explicitly bring it to the attention other people who might find it helpful using email or @-mentions.

If you’ve been working out loud yourself, make that experience visible in a way that might help others. Ask a question or answer one yourself. Share something you’ve learned from the process. What has worked and what hasn’t worked?

For those of you in working out loud circles, you have even more specific experiences you can share. There are now peer support groups in 5 countries with more forming every week. If you’ve taken part in a circle, your learning is interesting and useful to existing circle members as well as to those considering forming a circle.

Finally, a few of you are trying to spread working out loud in your organization. For example, a team recently held a working out loud event at their firm and 90 people formed 18 circles. The learning involved in creating that event, forming circles, and watching them experience benefits inside their firm, could all be useful to many other companies. For example, it’s particularly useful to people at other firms that use enterprise social networks like Jive, Yammer, and IBM Connections. When you contribute to the online communities of those software vendors, your network will grow even faster.

Take a step

There are so many smart, capable, people who are working out loud. You can make a connection by making a contribution. And you can regularly make useful, valuable contributions by making it a habit.

Whether or not you offer all of the contributions on the checklist, each step you take is a step toward deepening relationships and making your own luck.