You’ve been told numerous times that networking is important, and it is crucial that you grow your network, but how exactly do you do it? Well, it’s not as complicated as you may think. Once you’ve made that initial contact with someone, there are several things you can do to maintain that relationship and keep it going. Here are seven ways to try:
1. Get in touch with old colleagues
Have you lost touch with an old colleague that you worked with years ago, and uncertain if it’s too late to contact them again? Well, it’s never too late to get in touch. Send them an email to see how they’re going, or add them on LinkedIn.
2. Stay in touch
Once you’ve gotten in touch, stay in touch. Networking is an ongoing process. Send them occasional emails to see how they’re doing, and keep the conversation going.
3. Keep it brief
You don’t need to send long emails to stay in touch. In fact, short messages are best. Send a quick email to someone in your network and ask how they’re going.
4. Offer to help
Networking is not just about what you can get in return; it’s a two-way relationship. Find ways to help those in your network, and extend a helping hand. Have a look at the people in your network, and thinks of ways to help them.
5. Connect people
One way to help people is to connect people in your network. Could the people in your network benefit from each other? Ask if they would be interested in meeting each other, and setup an introduction.
6. Celebrate successes
Did one of your LinkedIn connections recently get a new job? Send them a quick congratulatory message; they will really appreciate the gesture.
7. Provide updates
Don’t be shy about sharing updates about your own life. Did you recently get a new job? Or were you promoted? Share it with those in your network, and use it as an opportunity to ask if there’s anything new on their end.
Networking online requires a bit of effort but it is not difficult. Start building your professional network now, continue to maintain your relationships, and maximise your opportunities.