The importance of networking to career and company success cannot be overstated. From being a means to get noticed, identify opportunities, exchange ideas and forge important connections, there are countless reasons why networking is crucial.
Making connections through networking frequently underpins career success. It opens doors to new opportunities and helps you gather perspectives and grow. But how do you ensure that your networking connections have depth and longevity?
Quality Over Quantity
Nurturing long-term, mutually beneficial relationships that are built through networking requires a shift in focus to quality over quantity. Networking isn’t about collecting as many LinkedIn connections as possible; its real value lies in building authentic and meaningful relationships. The most productive and sustaining networking relationships have the depth that has developed over time. To do this in a meaningful way means being selective.
Instead of aiming to connect with as many people as possible, prioritize making a genuine connection with those who share similar values, interests and goals. Look for shared experiences and common ground that may lay the foundation for a deeper connection, but remember that networking outside of your industry can also deliver unique insights.
Consistency In Communication
After you’ve made an initial connection, it’s important to remain in touch with regular communication. Be sure to reach out to your network at frequent intervals, whether through in-person meetings, phone calls or emails. Sharing updates about what you’re doing and being curious about what your connections are doing are all-important. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and make sure that you’re available to answer when requested.
It’s essential that you are able to provide value and support to your network if you hope to sustain and deepen relationships over time. If you are a younger professional, you may feel that the relationship with a more experienced individual will only be one way, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Older professionals may wish to gain different perspectives or may look for support with particular projects. By positioning yourself as a valuable resource and dependent ally, you foster trust and strengthen the bond that can make the relationship more enduring.
Identify Opportunities for Collaboration
Collaboration is a key means by which networking relationships can be deepened and sustained. Look for opportunities to work together on projects and initiatives that align with your shared interests and goals.
Working together allows you to see each other’s strengths and develop trust. Working towards common goals fosters a strong sense of teamwork and mutual respect, both of which are likely to enhance the longevity of the relationship.
Connections should never be taken for granted. Showing gratitude when someone helps you, points you in the right direction, or provides support and encouragement, should be a priority. This should be sincere and prompt, whether just a simple “Thank You”, a heartfelt note of appreciation or a well-considered gift, gratitude goes a long way in showing that you value the contributions and efforts of others.
Nurturing business relationships takes time, commitment and perseverance. Do it right and you can build working relationships that deliver a lifetime of value.
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