Why bother building globally if your business is only local? Why not? Having a strong network is about more than just your business, if you build strong relationships your network will be there for you for a great many things. What if you decided to travel out of the country, wouldn't be easier if you know someone in that area of the world? What if someone in your network needs a connection in that area of the world, would it be great if you had that connection?
When you take the time to build globally it makes your world feel comfortable, small, and connected. To build a global network you have to go about it intentionally, it is our nature to stay in our comfort zone, and to be with people just like us. If you are going to be successful at building your global network it will require that you step out of your comfort zone and network with people who are not like you, it requires intention and commitment.
Here are four things that you can do to increase your global connections and create contacts around the world.
1. Social Media - Get active on sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and start connecting globally. These are the big three. But, I have found there are more region specific sites like Ecademy that are heavily used by Europeans, so I am able to have more conversations and stay up on world topics by participating there. There are also sites that are more heavily influenced by Asian participants too.
2. Attend international trade shows and conferences. Attending workshops with people from all over the world allows you to connect over a common interest. This opens the door for future conversations and connection. Don't forget to follow up with the people that you meet! I am a member of the National Speakers Association and one of my best connections came from the New York Conference where I was able to meet with Lindsay Adams, President of the International Speakers Association. I had the opportunity to co-present with him while I was in Australia because of the connection we made at conference.
3. When the opportunity to take a program comes up, go to a city with international influence. Given the opportunity I prefer to go to Chicago because I know that I am more likely to meet people from all over the world than I would if I stay in my own town. I have made several great contacts using this tactic alone.
4. Get involved in international organizations like BNI, Toastmasters and Rotary where you can connect globally while doing business locally. These are organizations that have large global memberships and a common cause, they encourage you to stop in and visit the local chapters when you are in the area.
It is a big world out there, but when you know someone everywhere you go, it makes it small and cozy. You are comfortable going to a part of the world you have never been to when you connect with someone you know there. It is wonderful to be able to learn about other cultures, languages, styles, history, and yes even food. The opportunity to build your global network is better than it ever has been, you just have to step out, and do it!
Hazel Walker is an Executive Director of BNI Indiana and a franchise owner of Referral Institute Indiana as well. She has spoken all over the world on the topic of networking.
With over 5,500 active chapters, and over 100,000 members throughout every populated continent worldwide, BNI is the largest and most successful business referral organization in the world. BNI was founded in 1985 by Dr. Ivan Misner and the organization, which allows only one person from each profession to join a chapter, offers members the opportunity to share ideas, contacts, and most importantly, referrals. Last year alone, members of BNI passed 6.2 million referrals, generating 2.6 billion dollars’ worth of business.
For more information on BNI, please visit http://www.bni.com/ or call BNI Headquarters at 909.608.7575.
~ BNI Store - http://store.bni.com/
~ Blog - http://www.networkingnowblog.com/
~ BNI SuccessNet Newsletter - http://www.bnisuccessnet.com/
~ BNI Twitter page - http://twitter.com/BNI_Official_Pg
~ BNI Facebook page - http://www.facebook.com/BNIOfficialPage
~ NetworkingNow - http://www.networkingnow.com/
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