Four Steps to Building a Global Network

by Hazel M. Walker - July 8th, 2011

Connecting Globally

I went to Ireland in February to speak at a conference, I connected with some of my friends there, and made many new friends, last week I was in Australia, training a group of franchise owners. In August I will be in Africa working with a team of franchise owners, and in October, I am going to go hang out with friends in London, Paris and Scotland. Ten years ago I would not have believed that I could know someone on every continent of the globe, but today, I do. It makes for a diversely rich network, allowing me to learn, connect and travel the world.

One of the benefits of traveling, teaching and learning is my appreciation of my very own country, to be able to see the US through the eyes of those outside the US. To travel the way that I do in the world never would have happened if I had not decided to be intentional about the creation of my network. Every single opportunity that I have had to travel has been the result of my network, they have referred me over and over to others. They extend invitations and make me feel at home in a foreign place.

Today it is not hard at all to build a global network. With social media sites like Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter and international face to face organizations like Rotary, Toastmasters and BNI the world continues to feel as if it is shrinking. When you meet someone on the other side of the world who knows someone you know, it hits you, just how connected we all are!

Here are a few 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
Referral Institute, llc
BNI
hazel@bni.com

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