Whether you run a business or you simply want to keep your career options open, building professional relationships is key if you want to get ahead. Not only does knowing the right people give you a chance to boost your career, but it can also allow you the opportunity to work on amazing projects that can make a difference to a lot of people. While going to networking events is a good place to start, it is maintaining these relationships that can be the hardest part. Below are a few tips and tricks on how you can build and nurture your professional relationships successfully.
Keep in Touch
Don’t only speak to your connections when you see them at networking events, or when you need something from them. While it’s important not to spam their emails or blow up their phones with messages, reaching out now and again to ask how they are or if there is anything they need help with will help them to remember your name and also make things feel friendlier.
Arrange a Casual Lunch or Coffee
It’s always better to speak in person than over email, so if you do want to ask your connections for a favor or some advice, arrange to meet them for lunch or a coffee. You could even suggest a casual meet-up to catch up with one another, rather than making it all about business. However, be mindful that you need to find the right balance between friends and professionals – blurring these lines can sometimes make things complicated, but it is nice for your conversation to not always revolve around statistics and strategies, too. Finding some common ground can help with this, such as a shared interest in sports, films, or music.
Take Business Out of the Office
Taking a meeting in your office is a good chance to show off your professionalism, but it can also feel a bit stiff. If you and your connection want to discuss a project you’d like to work on together, or you’re trying to make a deal, consider taking business out of the office. In the early stages of discussion, meet in more relaxed environments. This will help to take the pressure off you and also allow you to get to see what you’re both like out of the usual working environment. For example, a game of golf has often been a traditional way for business colleagues to discuss plans and deals. These golf courses in Orlando are a good example of fun and quality courses that would be ideal for business networking. If golf doesn’t feel right for you or the person that you’re meeting, find another activity that you know they will enjoy so you can all come away feeling positive about what you have discussed.
Be Honest and Follow Through
Finally, don’t make promises that you can’t keep because you feel that that’s what they want to hear. You should be honest and genuine if you want to maintain these professional relationships. Learning to be diplomatic is important to avoid unnecessary tensions, but you don’t want to get a reputation for being unreliable or untrustworthy, which is why honesty and authenticity are always the best policy.
If you want to build and maintain your professional relationships, use these tips and see how well they could work for you.