Build it before you need it
One of the worst mistakes you can make in [tag]networking[/tag] is reaching out to others only when you are in need. You must, instead, reach out to others long before you need anything at all. You must be able to create a community that can help further your [tag]career[/tag] in both good times and bad. Here are a few ways to do so:
- Create a company-approved project that will force you to learn new skills and introduce you to new people in your organization.
- Take on leadership positions in outside organizations that interest you.
- Join your local alumni club and spend time with people who are doing jobs you might like doing.
- Enroll in a class that can teach you things related to your current job, or a job you see yourself doing in the future.
- Participate in online forums and visit blogs that interest you.
Every day brings in new opportunities to build [tag]relationships[/tag] with other people. Focus on your immediate network such as family, existing friends and old acquaintances. They might be able to introduce you to people who can help you meet your goals.
The last thing you want to be anywhere you find yourself is invisible. You have to go out of your way to reach out to others anytime and anywhere. You must make sure that your social and event calendar is always full.The more connections you establish, the more opportunities you are given to make even more connections. So, start today. Invite a colleague out for lunch or dinner. Include other people and watch your web of contacts grow.
When meeting people, you have to take into consideration how and where you got to know them. Strong relationships are built on quality and not quantity. How you spent your time with a client is more important than how much time you spent together. Choose to meet people during events and activities you excel at. Choose to keep company when you are engaging in something you are totally passionate about.
Whether it be dining out in great restaurants, watching baseball games, or talking about politics, choose activities that can bring you closer to people. Whenever you meet someone new, always take it upon yourself to follow up. If you want to establish a relationship, you must make sure that you are remembered. Believe it or not, follow up is the key to [tag]success[/tag] in any field.
Always give yourself between twelve and twenty-four hours to follow up after you meet someone. Send the person a quick note through e-mail and leave mental reminders as to who you are. You are going through all the trouble to meet other people and you might as well make sure that you are noticed. By the way, e-mails are very convenient but there is nothing like a handwritten thank you note to catch a person’s attention.
Here is a crucial point to remember when following up. Do not focus on what they can do for you. Rather, focus on what you can do for them. Give them a reason to want to follow up as well. If you want to build and maintain relationships successfully, you must learn the art of staying in touch. Quick casual greetings (pings) take a lot of effort but you must remember that it is only through repetition that you can become a fixed element in your contacts’ memories.