Fancy expanding your network, but fear losing contact with your existing connections? The former doesn’t necessarily imply the latter. Indeed, these two scenarios can even support each other. Let’s find out how through three simple techniques.

 

Match new contacts with old ones

While getting to know a new person, try to identify commonalities they share with your existing contacts. “You are into X? Then you absolutely have to meet my contact Y!”. If you reckon that two people can benefit from meeting each other, connect them straight away! This is, à propos, one of the most effective ways to add value to your network, as well as my favourite one. And the broader the network, the more the matchmaking opportunities, the more exciting the exercise!

 

Host targeted gatherings

You can’t constantly go for coffee with all your contacts, especially old ones (while we do recommend you follow up in person at least once with new connections). So gather old and new acquaintances and have them mingle! As Jayson Gaignard explains in “Mastermind Dinners: Build Lifelong Relationships by Connecting Experts, Influencers and Linchpins”, connecting people the right way is an art – also referred to as connectional intelligence by Erica Dhawan and Saj-Nicole A. Joni. We recommend two main constellations for bringing together your old and new connections: gatherings for people from similar industries, and get-togethers for folks with completely different backgrounds. The first ones allow for your guests to discover synergies, the latter involve weak ties, and thus facilitate innovation.

 

Earn introductions

You have been practicing networking karma and thus got yourself the reputation of a value-adder: amazing! As a result, your contacts will proudly keep introducing you to their network, and you won’t have to reach out regularly. This way, you will be keeping in touch with your existing contacts and at the same time expanding your network through their connections. The broader the network, the smaller the proactive effort you’ll have to put into growing it!