Networking is part of your job whether it’s listed in your job description or not. Effective networking benefits your current employer and position as much as it enables you to springboard into a new position when you’re ready. But getting the most out of your network can be tricky if you don’t know how to nurture the connections you already have while creating new relationships.
While many people stress increasing your network by adding to your friends, followers, and connections, you also need to nurture the connections you already have by adding value to the people in your network. Here are just a few of the things you can do to nurture your connections.
8 ways to add value to your networking connections
1. Provide insight into or advice about a challenge someone is facing
2. Send an article you know will interest the recipient
3. Recommend a book that your contact will enjoy
4. Introduce two people in your network to each other
5. Remember someone’s birthday or anniversary with a card, a note, or a phone call
6. Let someone know about a meeting of a professional organization, a networking event, a speaker, or some other event you think will interest them
7. Invite them to attend that event with you
8. Add an insightful comment to a post on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media
Use these ideas as a starting point and take into account your personality and preferences to find ways that work for you. When you focus on other people, meeting their needs, and adding value to them, you deepen your connection with them and keep the relationship vibrant and growing. This is just as vital as adding more people to your already large network.
The key to successfully nurturing your network is to be intentional by creating a plan, a system, or a structure so you can easily stay in touch.