One often neglected responsibility for networking its the act of pruning your network.
If you’ve done the work to build a professional network, periodically you will want to audit your network.
It’s sad but true, not everyone in your circle is actually a fan of yours.
How can you suss out these infidels?
I have a few favored approaches that continue to work well for me.
Many of these concepts are covered in the amazing course on networking by Jordan Harbinger.
3 ways to test your network
One of the best choices in my life was to start structuring opportunities.
This way, when people join, you’re already doing something you like.
This brings me to test #1.
Share a controversial opinion with your network
This one is the easiest. In person, or on social media, share a controversial or unpopular opinion. It can be as serious or trivial as you like.
- Han shot first.
- Trump is better looking than Obama.
- Iphone’s are better than Android phones.
Once you share, note peoples reactions. Some people will respond to the idea. That’s fine, nothing wrong with healthy debate.
You’re looking to sample how people respond. True friendships don’t depend on sharing the same thoughts, opinions, and ideas.
Say you’re trying to lose weight, and post about a new diet your trying. Some of your friends, family, and coworkers won’t support those goals, or you. People who seek to ridicule, harm, or shame you because of something they disagree with, is a vote for removal from your life.
Take an unusual action
Similar to #1, approach #2 is where you take an action slightly outside of your norm. For me, I do this by periodically painting my nails. It’s a win for me because I get to see a color I love for a week or two and I also get the side effect of noticing who responds again with ridicule, scorn, disdain, and judgement. Easily sorted once that happens.
Ask for advice
Folks who support you, as a person, are more likely to open a conversation with you about your goals, beliefs and intentions before ever offering guidance or advice. Folks who skip that step, add to the fire list. This of course is relative to you, and the types of interactions you have with people. What you are looking for is a change in the proportion, and direction of their responses. We all have that one friend of coworker to dismisses everything. That’s not what we are trying to discover, we are looking for the folks that given the opportunity, tear down rather than build up. Those are the opportunities we are providing.
If you think of all the time & interactions you have with people as positive, negative, or neutral, taking any of the steps above will help you identify the relative value of your network. By identifying the positive, negative, and neutral interactions, you are positioned to focus your time and energy on your positive exchanges. By eliminating time spent on negative ones, you’ll dramatically improve the quality of your interactions by spending more time and energy on the positive interactions in your life.