Networking Realities, Part Two: Nurturing Your Network
You’ve assembled your profiles, you’ve sent your thank-you notes, and you’ve LinkedIn; now it’s time to take the next steps in cultivating a healthy and active business network. You will begin the ongoing process of nurturing your network, but before you proceed, it will prove helpful to make a pledge to yourself to adhere to the number-one most important network nurturing rule: Build in a block of time each week to reach out and be sure people remember you exist.
Why Dontcha Come See Me Sometime?
For some contacts, the next week reach-out may be as simple as a follow-up phone call mentioning a tidbit from the conversation you’d had. However, if there was a “spark” from the start, and you feel you should engage in an exploratory meeting to see if you can work together, a coffee meeting or a lunch may be in order. In either instance, your mission is to provide value and support for the person….not only will it supplement their career, but it will keep you on their radar and prompt them to extend similar courtesies to you in the future. Remember, networking is a two-way street.
Show Me the Value
Somewhere in your conversation, ask how you can be of assistance to the person. Open yourself up to doing something for them without implying reciprocation. One practical way is to make a recommendation for them. Or, consider the value-added deed of giving them a referral. Is there someone you could introduce them to who would become a future asset? Since you know a bit about them from LinkedIn, why not tell them about an event that might be up their alley? With a little creativity, the sky’s the limit.
….And a Little Support
Digital connectivity is a tool with more functions than meet the eye. With respect to a new network contact, use this technology to go above and beyond by lending support. For instance, if they have a blog or any other sort of social media platform, go ahead and comment. If they’re holding an event, not only should you consider going, but express your enthusiasm by being among the very first to sign up. You even might learn about their job promotions through their musings….offer them a congrats!
Do you have some network-nurturing hints and techniques that work for you? Please share them with us and our readers.
Don’t miss Part 1 of Networking Realities.