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Five Ways to Foster Networking Relationships

  • woman-and-man-handshake-sq-4400Choose who you will network with. When networking, especially in the beginning, many people try to make as many contacts as possible, without considering the fit of the relationship(s). Before pursuing a networking relationship, consider, just like you would with other business relationships, how you will get along and how well you will be able to help each other, then choose the people that fit. Remember, you have limited time and energy and trying to foster relationships with people that don’t fit will squander those valuable resources.
  • Be Genuine. If you try to change how you relate to others to fit them, you are likely to come off fake and superficial possibly turning off the other person and harming the relationship. In other words, if the other person is very energetic and vibrant and you are not, maybe you aren’t a good fit.
  • Get to know your networking contact(s). Before you start sending your contact(s) information, jokes etc. that they might be interested in or other ways of keeping touch, you should consider just how well you know this person/people. If you send something too soon and that item isn’t right because you misunderstood their likes and dislikes, you could harm the relationship.
  • Keep in touch. After you get to know the person/people you are networking with it is good to keep in touch. Over time, people will forget you if you don’t. An occasional phone call, email, text or Facebook message will do. Even better, go out for coffee, lunch or be involved in the same networking group as them. Formal groups work better as you keep in touch on a regular basis. If you don’t have a formal group, keeping a calendar and scheduling in contacts can help you do so without your daily obligations getting in the way of remembering to do so.
  • Send opportunities to your contact(s). Now that you have chosen the right people, are being genuine, know the person you are networking with, and are keeping in touch, send information and opportunities to your contact(s). These will now be of interest to your contact(s), genuine and truly helpful. This will strengthen the relationship(s) and likely result in your contact(s) sending you information of interest and opportunities in return.

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