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Networking is a huge part of work whether you are a business owner, self-employed, or formally employed. Maintaining good personal relationships with the most important players in your career allows you to stay informed and plugged in, which allows you to take advantage of emerging opportunities to advance yourself. A good network also elevates your value as a small business owner or employee. The people who are well tuned into their networks receive more opportunities for career advancement and business collaboration than their peers. In this article, we will look at the different strategies that you can use to make networking and personal relationships work for you in growing your career.
Some people make the mistake of focusing all their networking efforts on their old group of colleagues in the spirit of networking. But this is just being a member of a clique and does not really contribute to your efforts to build your network. You should make sure that you have at least one competitor, customer, and supplier in your circles. Once you have diversified away from your immediate colleagues, it is now time to go on charm offensive and land those media and government connections.
Spend quality time on key relationships
It is very important that you diversify and find connections in different areas of your business for success, but it is even more important that you allocate time according to the expected gain from every business interaction. If you are a business manager, it makes perfect sense to interact more with the person you are mentoring. When you improve on key relationships, you generate more rewards for your business. Even more importantly, the rewards will continue pouring in for much longer.
Engage in social responsibility
To maintain personal relationships with the people in your network, it is very important that you engage in some level of corporate responsibility. People like to be associated with good people, so make sure that you share your social good deeds with your network in a non-intrusive way. You can also make social responsibility a team activity by bringing your colleagues to the soup kitchen when you go. When you collaborate with someone to solve a social issue, the interpersonal bond between you grows stronger.
Keep your network up to date
If you want to maintain a good network, always keep it up-to-date. The people with whom you spend the most time working with should always receive greater precedent, if only because they need to talk to you more. Keep a clear line of communication for your closest network. As for the people with whom you have lost touch or don’t have much reason to keep up with, you can bump them down into the ‘inactive’ section.
In business relations as everywhere else, it is very important that you follow-up with your contact whenever you are collaborating on a task or project. Failure to follow up on an important issue erodes the power of your network. But just because you have a professional relationship with someone does not mean that everything will always be smooth sailing. Sometimes you will have to take the phone and call someone just so you can keep in touch.
Send gifts as much as possible
Gifting is another thing that does wonders for building a good network and building your brand’s social appeal. You can do this by sending your business associates a thoughtful, inexpensive gift once every often. Not only does the process of exchanging gifts enhance the personal relationship you have with the recipient, it also strengthens the bond you share with someone else. A gift also strengthens networks, highlighting those work bonds you share while helping smooth over any disagreements.
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