26 May 2016
The end of a networking event is often met with a sigh of relief. While navigating such an affair is an accomplishment, your work is only just beginning if you want to build a network of quality contacts. In order to achieve this, you must dedicate time and effort into nurturing each relationship in your network. When you aren’t sure of what to say, it can be difficult to reach out and start a conversation. On the other hand, prematurely asking for a favor might not help you make the best impression on your new contact. If you want to start off on the right foot, it’s important to look out for ways that you can help them. After all, the more effort you put into maintaining the relationship over time, the more willing your contact will be to offer their support. With this in mind, here are a five ways to build rapport with your network: Meeting Over Coffee An in-person meeting is one of the best ways to start or build your relationship with a key contact. A coffee invitation creates flexibility for your meeting to take place anywhere at any time, and it allows you to speak freely in an informal environment. Additionally, you may be given the opportunity to bring your needs up organically in conversation, rather than asking for a favor without pretense. Social Media When it comes to networking, other social media sites can be overlooked in favor of LinkedIn. While LinkedIn is the primary network for professional relationship building, you can also connect on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram if you use them for professional purposes. If the opportunity presents itself, add your new contacts on multiple social networks to keep a well-rounded perspective on their lives. Not only does this help you stay up to date with their endeavors, but it also gives you more opportunities to engage with their posts. Once again, it doesn’t end there. You also need to be active on these networks and build your personal brand. To ensure you appear in their news feeds, be consistent about posting updates. This creates more opportunities for interactions that build rapport and bring you back to the top of their mind. Recommended Reading There is no shortage of informational articles on the internet to share with others in your network. Sharing a helpful bit of information can open the door to a conversation, and it can show that you’re knowledgeable about your industry. This doesn’t have to stop with online reading; you could recommend a book or film that you think they might enjoy as well. Celebrating Important Updates Seeing a contact reach an important milestone gives you the perfect excuse to reach out. By updating one another and celebrating each other’s accomplishments, you can create an atmosphere of support that can only strengthen your relationship. This could range from wishing them a happy birthday on Facebook to meeting up to celebrate a promotion. Attending More Events In The Area While it may sound counterintuitive to strengthening existing relationships, you’re likely to actually run into a few current contacts at these events. Additionally, you can invite your connections to join you. This gives you a renewed opportunity to catch up and bond with contacts that may have fallen by the wayside otherwise.