It is not uncommon to see people on LinkedIn sharing how networking helped them land their dream jobs. Some of these testimonies might tempt you to reach out to people in your dream companies and request a job in the name of “networking.”
Sadly, that strategy hardly works.
When you randomly connect with top professionals only to seek favors, you’re more likely to get ignored or blocked.
Top professionals are humans too. And they sometimes have work and personal issues going on. Your request might probably come in at the time some of these issues are intense. And so, when you request a favor upon connecting, it would irritate them, leading them to archive your message or block you.
You have to build a strong relationship before seeking a favor. To develop that deeper connection, you have to:
Building effective professional relationships is all about developing and sustaining symbiotic relationships with top professionals and your peers. It takes time to build.
Also, rather than networking solely to get a job, here are other valid benefits you can gain:
Here are the top places to start building new relationships:
Before you begin to execute the strategies below, you should have an end goal in mind. What are you trying to achieve with your relationship-building efforts? Where do all these lead to?
Are you trying to land a new job? Do you want new clients for your business? Is it to seek mentorship? Whatever your goals are, write them down. This way, you’ll know where to invest your efforts.
When trying to build valuable relationships, ask yourself, “what am I bringing to the table?” Knowing the answer to this question is vital because relationship building is not all about you. The other person wants value too. For this reason, your message is more likely to get a positive response if you are offering value that can make your contact’s life easier.
For example, if you’re trying to reach out to the important stakeholders in your dream company, don’t just send a message stating your request or asking how you can help. That’s a surefire way to get your email archived in 5 seconds. Instead, send a value-packed email that summarizes an idea for solving one of their problems and how your skills can help in facilitating the proffered solution.
When you finally have the audience of the other person, your first few words and actions matter. To leave a lasting positive impression, hone your communication skills, and be straight to the point. Above all, show interest in the other person. Everyone loves to talk about themselves. Yes, even that CEO you admire. Exploit this human nature by focusing your attention on your contact and asking questions relating to their work or interests.
Don’t give up whenever your messages don’t get an immediate reply. Sometimes, your contact might not read your messages because they’re preoccupied. On other occasions, it might simply slip off their mind. Thus, learn to follow up after 3-5 days of not getting a response. Do this while maintaining boundaries. There is a thin line between stalking and following up. You don’t want to be guilty of the latter.
When you listen to the other person with both your heart and mind to understand their perspective, feelings, and intent, you’re more likely to build an authentic connection with them. This will also separate you from the crowd because people rarely get to meet individuals who are genuinely interested in them. Show interest in your contact’s life, and they will instantly like you!
When trying quality relationships, try not to be everywhere all at once. Instead, identify the relationships you want to develop in terms of their relative importance, then prioritize accordingly. Not doing this might drain your energy and harm your networking strategy.
When building new connections, you should make the best impression possible. If your conversational skills are, however, terrible and there are several periods of awkward silence, you’re likely to lose the other person. To hone your conversational skills, particularly when meeting strangers:
When building effective relationships, you’ve to recognize it’s not all about you. From time to time, introduce people to each other. By doing this, you’re expanding your network because such people might want to return the favor.
Your contacts and you might not share the same values, mindset, or outlook. This is where open-mindedness comes in. You should be able to look past your differences and find ways to facilitate a productive relationship. See your contacts’ differences as an opportunity to learn and not a threat.
Consistency is more important than frequency when building effective relationships. While you don’t have to talk every time, you want to ensure you stay on top of your contacts’ minds. So learn to send short notes, congratulate them on their recent feats, and inquire what they’ve been up to.
On your part, try to keep your reputation clean and free from needless controversies. Your contacts might avoid you if you’re constantly in the news for bad reasons. Nobody wants to associate with a troublemaker.
Don’t build relationships with only those with more experience than you or in your industry. Network with your peers and those outside your industry too.
Prove that you view your contact as a human being by constantly appreciating their good deeds. Send thank-you notes and tag them publicly in your appreciation content. You can send flowers as well.
Use this template to document a detailed record of all your relationship-building activities. This will keep you on top of your game and help you track contacts you haven’t spoken to in a while.
With these strategies, you should be able to build strong relationships that not only serve you and the other person but those around you. Keep building new connections and nurturing existing relationships; you’ll break into your dream career someday.
Oluwatobi Abiodun is an experienced freelance writer with 4+ years of experience in creating content for 15 client brands across the creative, finance, legal tech, business, lifestyle, and health industries. He is also an author of the novel, Irresistible Fire.
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