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Posted Jun 6, 2010 in LifeStyle | 0 Comments

Networking – Continued

In my last article on networking, I discussed the powers of online social media to help you get started with building your network. In Part 2 of the series, I’ll discuss ways to develop and maintain your network so that you are able to build a foundation of solid contacts.

ASK OPEN ENDED QUESTIONS – AND LISTEN TO RESPONSES

Ask questions that require a response beyond “yes” or “no”. By doing so, you allow the conversation to open, and become more like a natural conversation and less of an “interview”. Hopefully, you’ll be able to discover a common point of interest, and from there the conversation will flow easily. Which leads me to my next point…

SEND A FOLLOW UP E-MAIL

When you meet someone that you want to add to your network, send a follow up email – nothing too formal (that would be creepy), but a casual note saying that it was nice to meet them and that you would like to set up a lunch date where you could continue your conversation about your common point of interest (see how it all ties in?). Create an email signature that includes your full name, your email address and your phone number, to ensure that your new contact will be able to get in touch with you.

BECOME A LADY (OR GENTLEMAN) WHO LUNCHES

Go for lunch. Call up that new contact and make a lunch date. Catch up with him or her every few months to maintain the relationship. Not only will you get a good meal, but you will also be developing the relationship. You never know when you’ll need career advice, or a job, or a client, and that new contact could be the person to help you out, be it in a few weeks or several years.

SHARE YOUR CONTACTS

Once you get to know your new contact a bit, offer him or her the opportunity for you both to expand your networks, by each of you bringing a relevant acquaintance to your next meeting. Since you will already have a mutual contact, the meeting will be less awkward, and the relationship will begin to develop.

FOLLOW UP ON YOUR PROMISES

If, during the course of your conversation, you make a promise, make sure to follow up on it. Whether you work retail and your contact wants to know if you have a size in stock, or your contact wants to know the tax consequences for a particular transaction, following up will make you seem more reliable (a highly desirable trait in a contact), and will allow you to become a valuable resource. And if you see that the answer will take a bit of time, just pop over a note that you didn’t forget and are working on it. Trust me, you will be golden.

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