Networking is not simply the act of shaking hands and collecting business cards. After meeting valuable contacts, you’ll need to stay in-touch and gradually build professional relationships. Here’s six tips to nurture your network:
- It may sound like overkill, but if you’re not great with details, consider managing your contacts via a spreadsheet – store information such as name, company, contact information, job title, interests, place and date you met and the last date of contact.
- Stay in touch at key times of the year – wishing your important contacts happy holidays or a prosperous new year etc is a great way to maintain relationships even if you haven’t had a chance to work together or catch up.
- If you find an article that’s relevant for your industry or a particular contact – share it with them. This could be directly or simply via LinkedIn to maintain professional visibility and activity online.
- Remember that you’re not the only one with career goals – your contacts have them too! So if they share an achievement or promotion etc on LinkedIn – congratulate them! Alternatively, if you find an opportunity that’s great for them – let them know. You never know when they’ll return the favour.
- Everyone talks about staying in touch online – it’s easy, which is why it’s great. But perhaps every 4-6 months, invite your key contacts for a coffee – building rapport in person is invaluable! If they decline, don’t be offended – most people are time poor, but they’ll remember that you made the effort.
- Finally, you may end up with some professional contacts that are really important to you. Remember to thank them for their advice, support or encouragement. They’ll appreciate it and it’s makes these relationships mutually rewarding.
For more tips and advice, make sure you get along to one of our networking workshops this week.