When building your network, it’s important to focus on the quality of your relationships, not the quantity. If you want career assistance from your connections, it takes more than a superficial conversation. But, when you aren’t sure of what to say, moving beyond small talk can be difficult. Before you ask for a favor, look for ways that you can help your network first. If you’ve assisted them in the past, you’re more likely to earn their support in the future. To keep building better relationships, start with these 5 strategies:
1. Meet over coffee
A coffee invitation offers the flexibility to speak freely in an informal environment. You may even get the opportunity to bring up your needs organically, rather than asking for a favor without pretense.
2. Social media
In addition to LinkedIn, you may want to consider adding your connections on multiple social networking sites. This will give you more chances to stay up-to-date with their accomplishments and engage with their posts. But don’t stop there—you also need to be active on these networks and build your personal brand. By consistently posting updates, you’re also creating more opportunities for interactions with your network.
3. Recommended reading
Sharing any helpful information can open the door to a conversation, and it can show that you’re knowledgeable about your industry. There is no shortage of information to share, so take a few moments to be helpful.
4. Celebrate milestones
When your contact is celebrating, this is the perfect opportunity to reach out. By supporting each other’s accomplishments, you can create a sense of trust that will build the relationship.
5. Attend more networking events
You may actually run into current connections in the process—or even invite your contacts to join you at an event. This will give you a new opportunity to catch up.