If we want to go somewhere, the first thing we do is find someone who has already been there, so that he can share his experience and pros and cons of that place and we can review our plans accordingly. Making connections and cultivating them is equivalent to building wealth. If we desire to long way, we need companions and thus we should start gathering them from the start itself. Wise people look for networks, everyone else looks for work. An effective networking is done face to face with eye contact and foundational trust. In today’s world, it’s not about what you know; it’s about who you know. A basic idea of networking is to gather all your contacts and from which you can segregate clients, referrals, resources, ideas and information. Below are some suggestions to maintain and sustain contacts through which they will be there the next time you need them.
1. Maintain existing relations:
Now that you have reached your position, you know the pain it takes to build up relations and you are also accustomed to the use of networking. Don’t neglect your current contacts. Take maximum advantage of it. When you are already maintaining existing relationship, you can just call and expect a help, it becomes easier that way. It helps you for long term success and act as a stepping stone as you are building connections with your known friends.
2. Keep in touch with your past colleagues:
Your past colleagues are assets in your life. They have experienced the vacuum created in your absence. So, they know you better than others. Be in touch with them on weekends. Try to solve their problems, if any, even if you are not together in the same organization.
3. Participate in social networking over smart-phones:
Nowadays, with smart phones we have uncountable social networking applications. We don’t have a choice –we are bound to use them. It’s about how efficiently we use it. Most famous applications being whatsapp, viber, hike etc. Through these apps, we tend to convert our professional relations to personal relations. We start talking in an informal way. We become ourselves in this type of communication. So, it is advised to take part in these group communications. Information travels faster than ever and you get news before it is published.
4. Participate in internet social networking sites:
Sites like Facebook, LinkedIn. Twitter and others helps us to find and connect with people and share our ideas in public. You never know when you get recognition and appreciation. Nowadays, these sites also help people in other ways. Whether you are searching for jobs, or you are willing to sell your products, or looking to increase your clientele base, everything is available on these social sites. A bunch of your old friends will always know what you are up to and share ideas on how to prosper and enhance your startups.
5. Give token gifts on occasions:
While working in an office, maintain cordial relations with staff and colleagues. Give away small gifts as token of appreciation on occasions, festivals or when you have joined office after a long outstation vacation. These gifts are always remembered and add weight to the kind of relation you want to maintain with others.
6. Set alerts for birthdays, anniversaries etc:
Though you are in touch only during office hours, do get into a habit of wishing your colleagues on their special occasions. They start developing affections towards you. Whether it be your boss or sub ordinate, send a short message regarding their birthday or anniversary or any other special occasion be it festivals or family functions.
7. Give them greetings of the day when you make eye contact:
As soon as you enter the office for the day, you see a lot of colleagues already present. Greet them with smile and wish them “Good morning” for the day. A smiling face is always remembered. Your smiling face gives them the positive energy they require to start at work, so they will always look for you in case you are not present any other day.
8. Realize the value of keeping contacts:
You start realizing the value of networks when you depart from school after completion. You feel empty when you do not get to meet your friends for the day. You feel that you like to spend more time with your friends rather than your family. This continues when you start working in an office. So, you see the value of friends in your life. To fill your life with fulfillers, you need to make networks and maintain them regularly.
9. Make a daily habit of nurturing networks:
A properly nourished and well developed network can work wonders for your career. You should feed and water it regularly. Make a commitment to contact your old friends. Update contact information. Share your job profile and updates. Meet them over coffee.
10. Help others:
Remember a time when you were searching for the job. Now you have one. So, take it as your duty to help friends in need of job. Tell them about any current openings you locate. Instruct them with the interview style and manner. Help them for preparation. A friend in need is a friend indeed. He will never forget you even if he reached the top. Give back the help you received from others during your search.
11. Be in touch with the consultants as well:
Thank them after getting a job. If you have got a job from elsewhere, inform them. Ask them to keep your names in the list for future references. Tell the recruiters that you still like to be informed of the new openings. If not you then you may know others who are in need and you can be their referrals.
12. Join a Professional community:
If you are a professional, join a community. Get regular updates regarding your job. The community provides several other facilities as in meetings, seminars, associations etc. Do attend after or during office hours. Meet proficient speakers and other renowned members. Take notes and implement in your work. This is also called on the job training.
13. Choose your guide for the next step of career:
Consider your superior as your guide for the next step. Communicate with him regarding all the official matters. Discuss about the work you have done and ask feedback. Take their feedbacks seriously and work upon it.
14. Scroll down your contact list:
When you are free or riding in a taxi or spending leisure time, just scroll down your contact list. You will understand what kind of a place what contact holds or used to hold in your life. Send a quick message, or call them casually just asking how they are and what is going on in their lives. This token to remembrance will add one more connection to your regular’s contacts.
15. Expand your list of known people:
Before getting a job it is difficult to make new contacts with high positioned people. But after getting a job, it is much easier to reach out and introduce you. Now, you can approach even the key decision makers of your organization. Come up with new ideas and arrange meetings to discuss those ideas. Come up with policies which may offer returns to the company as well. Always place an agenda for the meeting and make that brief to attract more staff.
16. Know the family of colleagues:
Gather basic information about your colleagues you have recently formed connection with. Ask them about their academic lives, their family members, place of origin, place of residence and their interests or hobbies.
17. Ask them about their current status:
Keep yourself updated with what you friends are up to. It may so happen that one fine day you call them and realize that they have become great professionals. So be in touch with them. Ask them about their new ventures. Appreciate them on their new promotions and success. In this way they will feel that you are appreciating them and you also get a chance to keep a record of the areas your network is familiar with, which can be useful to you in any sphere of life.
18. Maintain a two way relation:
You can’t expect someone to turn up after five years to your one call. At least once in a while, ask them for any assistance you can give them. This will make your network strong and they will be ready to help you in your hours of need.
19. Cut short your contact list to your requirements:
Review your contact lists. If you have massive contacts over the years, try to cut them short as it will be hard to be in touch with all. Evaluate on your experience basis whom to keep and whom to cull. Ask yourself whether to continue with them or not. Avoid spreading yourself too much also. Curtail your area to your current structure.
20. Opt for video conferencing:
If you find some good old friends after a long time, and you come to know that your friends have shifted abroad, try to meet up with them over video conferencing through Skype, and enjoy virtual coffee. This option will fill the gaps created due to geographical conditions and you can still connect with them in a casual and friendly way.
21. Join Clubs:
Join social clubs of which your networks are a member. Meet them unofficially. You can interact with them and their families as a social meet. This however, creates a good impression at work also.
22. Plan meets ups:
Find some time from your busy schedules and plan a meet up or a get together or a reunion of old friends of the same school, /college or colleagues of the same office. Make a certain plan with the venue and time to show that you are serious about it.
23. Introduce people in your network to each other:
This is called a chain networking. You introduce one of your contacts to another and the chain goes on resulting in increase in your contact list also.
24. Communicate on forums and discussion websites:
There are sites and forums where people speak their official problems and constrain and ask for help. Go through those sites and give assistance wherever you think you can. Share your knowledge with others. This will increase your clarity. You will learn to communicate or present yourself in a better way.
25. Volunteer in social activities:
Volunteer yourself to participate in cultural activities, national functions and social meets. Grab opportunities as they come. Be active for occasional ceremonies. Try to create something different for that day, a speech for the occasion, or a badge, or a dress code which makes you stand apart from the crowd.
26. Develop chit-chat and small talk habits:
Start small talks when you meet in an elevator or a canteen. A Great conversation starts with a chit chat. It’s an opportunity to feel at ease with the person you are trying to start conversation with. Find something in common with the person and start off with that. Then reveal your identity gradually and ask for his introduction. Encourage him to share his knowledge and experience with you.
27. Don’t be afraid to go deep in the conversation:
If you see that the conversation is taking its turn and some unknown topics are coming forward, don’t quit. Instead tell the other one to elaborate or make it easier for you to understand. There is no harm in telling that you don’t know much about the current topic in discussion. You may grab some more knowledge in this way. So one should be alert in speaking as well as listening. Listening to the speaker makes him feel that you are interested in him.
28. Think before you speak:
It is a good habit to analyze the impact your speech may hold to the listener. You should analyze whether he will appreciate it or not. Or you should be confident and make sure whatever you are speaking is true to the best of your knowledge and experience.
29. Find out contacts of your contacts:
Enquire the friend list of your contacts to know their area of networking. They can introduce you to such fellows who have same interests and life goals as you have, and similarly, vice versa.
30. Ask for business cards and contact numbers:
If your conversation with the new person you met goes well, ask him for his contact information. Exchange visiting cards. Save his contact information and do make sure you contact him at least once after you have met.
31. Research for people who have same interest and hobbies as you have:
Do online surfing. Conduct informative interviews and inquire whether your ideas match. Initiate a call from your side.
32. Practice sweetness in your voice:
People like to involve with person of sweet and polite nature. Politeness is the key to strong networking. Everyone desires to be treated politely, even those who are rude to you. It shows that you are civilized and have regards for others in a courteous manner.
33. Show your works:
Show your skills and creative ideas and innovations. Make them look attractive. If you are not networking, it means no one is there to recognize your skills and ideas, which will amount to not working.
34. Becomes well known:
Become well known among your prospects and connections. Discuss with them their daily activities. Find friends who need you and try to solve their problems at your best.
35. Get in touch with your distant relatives:
We are sometimes not aware of the distant relatives who have achieved heights in their life. Since we have a far off connection, we can take a chance of developing cordial relations with those distant relatives while meeting in family functions and gatherings.
36. Organize events and exhibitions:
Contact people who have talent and try to display their talent through exhibitions. This may initiate a small gathering and people may get around well with each other.
37. Respect others:
Respect others opinion, ideas, achievements and works. Don’t get jealous or show any negative or harsh feeling towards them even if you have it.
38. Never eat alone:
Try to find a lunch or dinner companion. Eating together will stretch to living together.
39. Meet by choice, and not by chance:
Someday you see some old friend of yours crossing roads, go and approach him. Show him that you were remembering him for a long time and were thinking ways to meet him. Create an atmosphere which he might feel at home.
Be willing to be a beginner every single morning, and then see the contacts list you create.