Here’s something that I find is all too common…shyness when it comes to building professional relationships.
You know what I mean…don’t even pretend you don’t! It’s that procrastination about connecting with someone you just met via phone or email. Or connecting with someone new.
What if they think you are pushy or don’t like you?
Well here are some tips on how to step up and make friends and connections!
It’s never too late to connect. You should also know you’re not alone. We all know how to stay in touch for the most part but a majority of people just never do. You run out of time, life gets in the way, whatever reason you have is what is real for you at that time. The key is to not give up on reconnecting just because you are not sure what to say or you think too much time has gone by. Reach out and see how the other person feels. Many a partnership has been formed by people reaching out after a length of time to reconnect.
Conversations open up new worlds. You have tons of interactions each week most likely both in person and via email. Some of these people pass on through your life and others stick around. Build the relationships that you want to have and treat people the way you want them to treat you. The process is simple, the more conversations, the more commonalities, the closer the connection.
As time passes, some of your connections might drop off and that is fine and expected. It’s normal for people’s priorities and interests to ebb and flow. However, if you’re fortunate, you’ll develop strong, deep, trusting relationships with a core group. These will stay with you and make your life so much better just with their presence.
Stay in touch with people to build closer connections. This doesn’t mean you are stalking people, but rather that you are checking in from time to time. We all like very brief personal communications rather than long impersonal bulk updates.
Send an email or leave a voice message saying something like, “Just checking in. How’s it going?” or “We haven’t talked in a while. Just wondering how you’re doing?” Yes, it is really that simple. You will almost always get a reply, sometimes right away, and sometimes not for several weeks.
Another easy way to stay in contact is to celebrate achievements– theirs or yours! For example, if you see an article in the paper, clip it and send it to that person in case they haven’t seen it with a congratulations note attached.
Occasionally, if something good happens to you share that with others in a quick email, maybe referencing an article that you had published in case they want to read it.
If it’s a new contact, it takes a bit more effort. With new contacts you have two goals: to find the common ground and to offer assistance. One way to find new contacts is to browse online profiles in your Linked In connections. See if you have things in common such as a friend, school, or interest. Try to find something to ask a question about. The topic isn’t nearly as important as the conversation and connection being made.
It’s also important to offer your help. Networking, is about giving to others. Every person has professional currency to offer. For example, you could offer to help connect people to someone you know they could benefit from having in their life, or review a blog, offer encouragement or advice. We all have talents, and sincerely offering your help to others is huge in building up that relationship.
Those are my thoughts of the day on how to build and maintain relationships and I know they will help you as well!