5 Things To Know In Order To Maintain Your Business Network Properly
Ever notice how moving forward in your career comes down to networking? Eighty percent of job openings are never publicly advertised, according to a 2013 Wall Street Journal article. That makes all those business cards you’ve collected and LinkedIn connections you’ve made extremely important.
The tricky part however is keeping in touch with your network of former colleagues and clients in a genuine way so that it doesn’t come off as self-serving or stalker-like. Part of this means maintaining some level of regular contact so that there aren’t any long periods where it’s been years since the last connection was had between yourself and someone else from the group which helped move things along for both sides when an opportunity came up unexpectedly .
REACH OUT ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Finally, there is a legitimate reason to spend time on Facebook and LinkedIn during the workday: these and other social media sites allow you to get your name in front of old and new connections in an unobtrusive manner.
Crafting a congrats post on social media is the best way to cheer up your contacts when they’ve had an awesome career milestone.
“Cheering on your contacts shows them you’re supportive and excited,” says Dorie Clark, marketing strategy consultant and author of “Stand Out Networking.” No words? Just hit that like button!
PLAN SMALL GET-TOGETHERS
Arranging a face-to-face catch-up with each contact individually is an inefficient use of time. Set up small gatherings for a small group of people who all know each other. This way, your group of ex-coworkers from a previous job, for example, can get together for a lunch or happy-hour outing.
The group gathering works for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, it saves everyone’s time and energy. Second, you avoid the awkwardness that can occur when you’re sitting across the table from a contact you haven’t seen in a while… and don’t have much to talk about.
SHARE YOUR TALENT
Offering to do a business-related favor—for example, arrange an email introduction with an industry leader you know—conveys generosity. “Most people tend to wait to network until they need something rather than reaching out authentically and genuinely,” says Coburn.”Instead, take the initiative and offer to help.””Tell me, who is your ideal client? I may know some people you should meet,” suggests Coburn. Or, “What kind of investors are you looking for?”
Offer insights about what excites them by asking questions like “How did your team come up with that idea?,” or let them teach their expertise through opportunities such as Q&A sessions at events where they speak.
ALWAYS UPDATE YOUR CONTACTS LIST
A professional’s contact list must always be up to date. If someone else gets promoted, moves away or switches specialties you need a way of updating your contacts on the go and notifying everyone around you that they are doing something different than what is listed in their profiles online. This will make sure people can easily reach them and get an accurate sense of how each person has grown throughout his/her career so far.
GIVE THEM SPACE
Staying close to business contacts means knowing when to back off. If a colleague is really overwhelmed, it’s a nice gesture to periodically send them an email or leave a voice message and add, ‘No need to respond’. This shows respect for their schedule because they may be too busy to get back. You likely feel guilty about it. It frees up the person so that they know you care.
But what if someone has reached out several times without any response? Only follow-up again only with good reason as people are very busy in their schedules which can make others seem like crickets from afar who also should stay away unless necessary reasons arise directly regarding work related matters.
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