Your strongest networking tool is your personality. At the end of the day, quality work can only get you so far in advancing your career. Building personal connections to colleagues, clients and other constituents is key to personal business success. Below, we give our two cents on how to strengthen professional connections. Inc. magazine has more online.
1. Project Confidence
From the initial phone call, to the first handshake, to every meeting, event and meal going forward, conducting yourself with confidence will demonstrate to others your capability to deliver what is needed in any situation. Confidence also commands respect from others.
2. Timely Follow-Through is a Must
Reliability and commitment are necessary to secure trust in any relationship. If you make a promise to follow up after an initial meeting, make sure you do so in a timely manner. Set a calendar reminder or alarm. That next communication, if delivered on time, will be much better received than if you forget and circle back a week later. It also shows respect and loyalty.
3. Be Genuine
Don’t be superficial in attempts to connect; make it a point to genuinely get to know a person. Ask questions or take a look at someone’s social media profile to find common interests and activities. It will not only help break the ice, it will build a bond that can be strengthened over time and many transactions. Most importantly it shows that you care.
If you don’t necessarily consider yourself a “people person,” watch or read the news or follow a local sports team. These topics are easy conversation starters at any networking function or meeting and it will help transitioning the discussion into additional areas of interest. Always try and avoid topics such as politics and religion.
Finally, remember the old adage, “Treat others as you’d like to be treated.” Be honest and genuine and others will be receptive.