We all network. Below are tips I’ve learned over the years in building an maintaning relationships:
- Be the first to ask, “How can I help you?” People are thrown off by receiving this question because most people are only focused on their own needs.
- If you promise to follow up during the conversation, please do so. Sometimes it might not be immediate but still come through. People will remember.
- If you plan to make an introduction, be sincere on how well you know the person you’re going to connect. There are too many people willing to offer connections but who don’t actually know the person. If I haven’t seen or spoken someone in a year, let the other person know. That way it isn’t a surprise.
- Try to find a common thread as to why two people should meet. Don’t make it awkward. People are busy enough without having to solve a puzzle as to why they should meet one of your connections. I’ll usually write an email that explains why I feel these two people should meet.
- Don’t expect anything. It’s the “Go-giver” principle of giving, and it will come back ten-fold. It takes more effort to offer your time but the rewards are great. (The Go-Giver is a book written by Bob Burg. It is worth your time to read.)
- Value your time. Beware of the “takers.” You should know what your time is worth. Use empathy with people who are networking for jobs. We’ve all been there but also be aware of how your time is used with takers. You’ll know the difference immediately.