My 5 Steps to Building a Network and Connecting

In Professional Growth by rafranzdavis10 Comments

photoAt the beginning of twitter life, most people focus on numbers. Anyone that tells you different is lying! At some point in the life span of twitter, a connection happens. Those numbers turn into people, stories and conversations. I’m fortunate to have been able to make some pretty amazing connections this year. I thought that it would be nice to let people in on the secret to doing that. It’s not hard but there are some steps that you can take to make connecting easier.

 

Step 1: Talk to people

The first time that I met Kristy Vincent, (@bigpurplehat) she doesn’t even remember. It was our state technology conference and Kristy was sitting on the floor next to Lisa Johnson (@techchef4u), who probably doesn’t remember this either. I just walked over, sat down and started talking. I did a lot of that at TCEA. It wasn’t even to build a network, I just wanted to learn more about people and what they were sharing. To build  a strong network, one that exceeds the “walls” of twitter, you have to connect with the person behind the handle. Start a conversation. Reply to thoughts. Jump in the middle of conversations. By all means, don’t just lurk. Engage!

Step 2: Don’t be weird. (Be silly, yes….not weird)

 

When I met Kyle Pace for the first time, I said to him… “I follow you on twitter”. There was awkward silence. Only later, after a group discussion, that I inserted myself into(see step 1), did it get less awkward. When Beth Still sent me a message prior to our trip to Discovery Ed, I screamed. People thought that I was crazy. I mention these two because I’ve been learning from them for years. I wanted to get to know them without weirding them out.  Looking up to other educators is a powerful thought. It’s amazing what twitter has done to uplift what we do. When you meet those that you admire, spark a conversation…a normal one. They are just like you!

Step 3: Share

If you really want to build a network, share what you know. Share what drives you. Share what you are passionate about. People like to know that. If you are under the impression that you have nothing to share, rethink that. We all have something of value to add to the conversation. Share and share often. Do it, expecting nothing in return. Do it because you want to share. People will see it. They always do.

Step 4: Be Yourself

Step 4 is probably the most important of all. You must be true to yourself online and off. Never change who you are for the sake of approval of others. When you are connecting, connect with people who share commonalities with you. It makes it easier to be yourself.

Step 5: Show Up for Stuff!

I said that step 4 was the most important of all but step 5 is pretty close. If you want to connect with people, you’ve got to go to events. Edcamps are a great start, especially since edcamps are based on conversations. You will have more time to connect. In addition, they are free. When you get there, start form step 1 and work your way down. Talk to people, share and be yourself. Before you know it, your network will grow!

 

Comments

  1. Great post! I like how ISTE has made us all that more aware of how important it is to not just follow, but to connect. I completely agree with the weird part. I wasted a lot of time not connecting with some just because I didn’t want to start off by acting as if Twitter had made us BFF’s. Great tips including showing up! I want at least one event a month in my calendar if I can get it. Travel is hard, especially as a mom, but a day a month will make us more connected and better at what we do!

    1. Author

      Thank you! I think that Paul Wood told me to start showing up & that changed me. Travel is hard but I live right here near Dallas and showing up can mean meeting friends for coffee to connect & chat. As for weird…no longer will I think that I can’t connect because someone is “bigger than me”. It doesn’t exist!! I wish that I knew this a year ago because I missed the chance to know some amazing people. 🙂

  2. Great post.. I will be attending my first EdCamp this month. I am excited to meet and connect!!

    1. Author

      I am as well!! It has made the difference in my career!

  3. I am so proud of you! You are a Rockstar! Great post. I look forward to learning more from you! Hugs!

  4. You have become quite the blogging machine. I think I’m spending more time on your blog than almost any where else 🙂
    Full disclaimer…. I honestly don’t remember the interaction at TCEA. Not one second of it. Shortly thereafter, we ended up at DENapalooza in McKinney together and I remember it very well. I jumped out of my car in the rain to give you a hug and we all know I believe #PrincessesDontGetWet. But that day changed because we really connected.

    From that day forward we made plans to room together at ISTE and DENsi. We talk for hours on the phone on a regular basis. We have held one another through deeply personal struggles, tragedies, and celebrations. Because of a tweet, a follow, an initial digital connection through social media, we have become inseparable friends. Thank for being my friend. Thank you for sharing the secret recipe with others.

    1. Author

      It seems that all that I can even say to you anymore are the collection of 5 words that people should be using more often…

      I love you Kristy Vincent!

      Thank you for being my friend!

  5. I really appreciate this. Attending ISTE I did feel a little weird (awestruck) meeting people I follow on twitter who I really to think of as Edu-Rock Stars. I am working on getting out there and connecting. Thanks for the list. I’m headed to EdCampFWTX this month…hope to make lots of connections and make many new friends!

    1. Author

      It’s ok to feel awe struck, we’ve ALL felt it! Heck, I did too at iste, but the minute that I took a step back and realized that they have the same job that I do. I thought about what I feel in my job, the ups and downs…I guarantee you that what unites us all is the desire to share and our love of kids. Also, “I love your shirt” works as well! Just talk…spark a conversation. You’ll only regret it if you don’t! 🙂

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