The Value of Networking As a Teen: 10 Ways to make meaningful connections with the right people

Nov 24, 2021 | BY YOUTH FOR YOUTH, Youth Partners

Written by Charles Nyabeze @Charles1

I have had the dream to start a business since I was 14 years old. In my final year of high school (I am now in my first year of university), my team and I built a Web3 Rewards Platform called BitPerks, where we allowed creators to monetize themselves through rewards. All this started as a tiny idea and has now grown from an idea to a product.

I got on the team of founders because of a guy, Matt, who I met in my school washroom while washing my hands. I was outside playing some basketball when I got a call from him that ended up changing my full career path and probably my entire life. 

Being a Co-Founder of BitPerks gave me a passion to learn, the ability to get things done, improved my knowledge of finance, created million-dollar connections, and life-long friends. And that all came from having a connection who had an amazing network.

What did I learn from this? I was taught the importance of having a vast, and ever-growing network. Because you never know, the guy washing his hands next to you in the washroom could be your next best friend or future business partner.

Now that I learned this lesson I want to help you improve your network, check out my top ten tips below!

10 Ways to make meaningful connections with the right people.

  1. Talk to everyone you can.

Talk to everyone you can; this first point is super important. You never know who you could be standing beside! Take it from me, I met my business partner in a school washroom. Any time you have the chance to talk to someone new, take it, at the very least you’ll be improving your network.

  1. Get on LinkedIn

Being on a professional site like LinkedIn may seem daunting but this may be one of your greatest assets. LinkedIn allows you to make key connections in any space you are interested in. When I first got on LinkedIn and started connecting with people I easily made friends and connections in the crypto space, and these connections have helped with my business ventures in the sector.

  1. Believe in yourself

Talking to people is hard when you are shy and even harder when they are new people. This is why it’s key to believe in yourself. Walking up to new people and talking to them can seem daunting but with a bit of confidence and some practice, this skill alone can exponentially grow your network!

  1. Go to community events

Meeting other people in your community is huge. This is because these are the people that are closest to us. If you ever need a helping hand, those in your community will be the first to come to your side. Having good connections in your community greatly improves your chances of getting high-value jobs as you will already have an “in” with the key players in the job industry near you.

  1. Ask the right questions

When talking to people, you need to know what to ask to achieve strong connections. Questions like “How’s your day?” “What did you think about that new movie?” and “Who’s your favorite artist?” are great for talking with your friends. However when networking and making professional connections try asking things such as “What industry do you work in?” “What are your goals in life?” and “What’s your dream job?” These are great questions to get the ball rolling!

  1. Make a personal “Elevator Pitch”

Making a short description of yourself and what you do is super important especially for large-scale events.  A personal “Elevator Pitch”, is something that describes who you are in roughly the amount it would take to get on and off an elevator. Having this memorized is nice so you’ll always have something ready to say when quickly meeting new connections.

  1. Keep up with your connections

Once you find and make connections you have to keep up with them! I like to look at it like growing a plant: you plant the seed, water it, and put it in the sun. But, it doesn’t end there. You have to maintain it to make sure it reaches its fullest potential. Connections are the same way, if you don’t keep up with your connections, just like an unattended plant, they will shrivel away.

  1. Provide Value

Providing value and helping people out is one of the best ways to make connections. When you show people what you can do, and provided you do it well, you slowly become known for your ability to do it. By showing people that you are useful you will slowly start building a network of people that not only think you are good at what you do but will also be a network that will help you out anytime you need it!

  1. Send Messages

There are always those certain people in life that we would love to connect with, maybe it’s an idol of yours, a super cool person in the space you are interested in, or maybe it’s even the manager at a cool new job you’re eyeing up. Regardless of the case, these people can seem difficult to talk to, but for the most part, it isn’t! The saying “You miss all the shots you don’t take” applies especially well here too! Send that email, make the call, shoot off that text. By doing so you are one step closer to making that invaluable connection and adding key players to your network. 

  1. Have a good personal brand

Last, but not least, is to have a good personal brand. To do this you need to show people who you are, what you do, and what you are good at. Now, it would be unconventional to go up to 100s of people in real life and tell them this, so the best way to portray yourself is through social media! Apps like LinkedIn, Ladder, Twitter, ClubHouse, and even Discord are amazing places to start building your brand. This can be done effectively by optimizing your profiles and adding/talking to people in like-minded communities. 

From all this, it is clear to see the importance of networking. For example, three days before writing this, a multi-millionaire texted me about possibly funding my platform. I attribute this to the fact that I had tons of familiar connections in the same space as him. Now, I know starting your own network of meaningful connections can seem daunting, thankfully Future North (a network for youth) is here to help, visit and connect with us to get started in growing your professional network!