What Are Ways To Maintain Business Networking?

What Are Ways To Maintain Business Networking?

What Are Ways To Maintain Business Networking

For young entrepreneurs, making professional relationships is about making connections and nurturing and fostering them over time. Once you’ve established a rapport with someone, you must know how to maintain business networking so that you can turn to them for support or assistance when needed.

One common question is how frequently you should stay in touch with your contacts. The answer lies in the importance of regular communication. By staying in regular contact, you can build trust, show genuine interest, and strengthen the bond between you and your network. Strike the perfect balance between reaching out to new connections and staying connected with those you’ve known for some time.

Our aim is to provide you with practical strategies to maintain business networking effectively. We understand that professional relationships can be overwhelming, but fear not – we have valuable advice and insights to guide you. Discover the art of nurturing connections, cultivating strong relationships, and creating a supportive network that will be there to cheer you on and assist you in your journey as a young entrepreneur and professional.

Experts Advice on How to Maintain Business Networking

Being well-connected can really boost your work life, helping you climb the career ladder, have a bigger impact, make more cash, and be happier at work. Francesca Gino, who teaches at Harvard and wrote part of “Learn to Love Networking,” says that knowing the right people gives you a way to get valuable information, like tips, help with problems, and more. Over time, this can mean knowing more things that help you do well at work and deal with tough stuff. 

Meanwhile, Dorie Clark, who wrote “Reinventing You,” mentions that your contacts are key to getting ahead. Most jobs or freelance gigs come from people you know. So, if you don’t keep up with old pals, you might miss out on some cool chances. Here’s a tip: keep in touch with your network to keep those chances coming.

Set Your Priorities

According to Clark, start by carefully deciding which people in your network are most important. She recommends categorizing your contacts into different groups, like current clients, future clients, influential peers, and friends who are great at making connections. Then, plan out how to best give them your time. But deciding who to focus on isn’t always obvious, Gino points out. Sometimes, you stay in touch with someone because you like them or share common interests. Consider how these relationships benefit you. For instance, if chatting with a friend or coworker makes you feel good, regularly catch up with them.

Also Read: Business Networking: Digital Business Cards for Professionals

Utilize Social Media Wisely

In our digital age, keeping in touch with old friends indefinitely online is easy, but be wary, warns Gino. Leaning too much on social media to keep up with business contacts can backfire. She notes that a phone chat isn’t the same as meeting face-to-face, and social media interaction isn’t as rich. It might trick us into feeling close to someone when the bond is just virtual. Yet, Clark points out, social media can work in your favor. You could, for example, exchange messages with peers on Twitter, share their work on LinkedIn or pass along their blogs and articles. Better still, take things off the web, she suggests. If a friend gets a promotion or another win, show you’re happy for her with a call or a personal note.

Show Your Kindness

Next, Clark suggests considering the various ways you can keep in contact – emails, phone chats, meetups over coffee, social events, and personal letters – to strengthen your connections. She points out that to keep your professional circle alive, staying present in the lives of those you want to build ties with is crucial. This way, you’ll be remembered when you need their help later. She notes that to show you genuinely care and are curious about their lives, take thoughtful actions. Pay attention to when certain events or info remind you of someone. Maybe you’ve read a book that a past work friend would enjoy, learned about a fascinating topic, or bumped into someone they know. That’s the perfect moment to reach out. Gino adds that solid relationships must be consistently cared for. To keep someone in your circle, don’t just reach out when you’re in a pinch.

Lend A Helping Hand

To maintain business networking with people you know often means looking out for ways to help, according to Clark. Pay attention to what they have to say, especially when they mention problems they are dealing with. Maybe someone you know is frantically searching for an internship for their child, and you know your company offers them. Step in and offer to introduce them. Or if a past work friend mentions wanting to use video more at work and you’ve just finished a book about it, think about giving it to them. Just ensure you’re not just trying to get something out of it. Helping for the wrong reasons can backfire and make you seem selfish, which is not the impression you want to give. On the other hand, Gino points out that being real, honest, and heartfelt is much more effective in gaining true respect.

Let Friendships Flow Naturally

Clark points out that if you’ve reached out to an old buddy many times and they’re not responding, it might be time to stop trying. Perhaps they’re swamped, or their email filters are tough, but they’re likely not into keeping in touch. Gino agrees. Worrying too much about one-sided friendships isn’t worth it; trying too hard can turn people off. Her advice? Connect with their pals—play it cool and stay real. After all, she advises, fleeting acquaintances don’t last and aren’t worth the fuss.

Avoid Showing Off

Even though it’s beneficial for your connections to be updated about your work achievements and job advancements, it’s important not to be seen as someone who boasts too much. Gino suggests a subtler way of highlighting your accomplishments by sharing updates about your recent activities to offer new insight to others. Clark agrees—you don’t need to make a big fuss. If you’ve built a good rapport with someone before and you’re sure they view you favorably, there’s no need for a relentless self-marketing spree. Instead, keep in regular contact and show a genuine interest in what’s happening in their world. This approach helps to keep their good thoughts about you fresh.

Regularly Evaluate Your Network

About twice a year, it’s good to review who you’re connected with professionally, says Clark. Take a close look at your connections list and think: is this still current? Who might be good to add? Who’s not as important anymore? According to Clark, you’ll naturally bring new people in and move others out of your close network over time. This doesn’t mean you cut them off completely – you may just chat less frequently. Gino suggests that blending the old with the new shouldn’t be hard if you’re networking correctly. Introduce your new acquaintances to your long-time network buddies. It’s a great chance to get to know all of them better. Plus, she notes that it breathes new life into connections that might not be so active.

The Dos of Effective Business Networking

Learning to maintain business networking comes with techniques to make the process smoother and more successful. Here are the essentials of what you should do when you’re looking to build a solid network in the business sphere.

Start with a Smile and Introduction

First impressions are powerful. A warm smile and self-introduction set a positive tone for any interaction. Be the spark that ignites the conversation; take the initiative to approach others instead of waiting. This proactivity is the hallmark of a confident and engaging networker.

Engage Beyond the Business Card

To forge memorable connections, skip the usual exchange of business cards and strive to learn more about the individual’s role in their industry or personal interests. This approach adds depth to the conversation and highlights mutual interests that pave the way for stronger professional relationships.

Arm Yourself with Conversation Starters

Equip yourself with an arsenal of conversation starters to quell any networking nerves. Spark dialogue by asking for opinions on recent presentations or commenting on the event. Staying on positive and neutral grounds ensures the conversation flows comfortably, cementing your reputation as a pleasant conversationalist.

Have Conversation Closers at the Ready

As conversations begin to wind down, gently steer back to professional topics. Inquire about their industry locations or the unique aspects of their business design. When it’s time to part ways, properly close your conversation with an offer to exchange business cards or connect on LinkedIn. This formalizes your intent to keep in touch and potentially nurture a new professional bond.

Embrace the 80/20 Rule of Listening

The golden rule of effective networking is the 80/20 ratio: listen actively 80% of the time, ask clarifying questions 10%, and share your insights the remaining 10%. This balance ensures that you don’t dominate the dialogue and show genuine interest in what others say.

Stay Authentic

Lastly, authenticity is your greatest networking asset. Genuine connections are more enjoyable and more likely to lead to lasting professional relationships. Be yourself, build trust, and let the real you shine through. After all, the most rewarding networks are those built on a foundation of authenticity.

The Don’ts of Effective Business Networking

Don’t Be a Wallflower

When you attend a networking event, don’t wait around, hoping someone will talk to you. This passive approach will severely limit your opportunities to connect. Instead, take the initiative and start conversations—it shows confidence and proactive interest in others. Networking is about stepping out of your comfort zone, so don’t be afraid to make the first move. Engage with a friendly greeting, and you’ll open the door to potential business relationships.

Don’t Dive Into Business Talk

Launching right into business talk can be a turn-off. It’s important to ease into these relationships, not crash into them. Try starting with neutral topics such as opinions on the event, food, or other casual ice-breakers. People are more likely to open up when they don’t feel like they’re being pitched to. By showing genuine interest in them beyond the business aspect, you’re laying the foundation for a relationship that has the potential to go deeper than a simple transaction.

Don’t Exit Conversations Hastily

As you prepare to end a conversation, don’t just dash off; take a moment to close the discussion properly. This reflects good manners and leaves a positive, lasting impression. It’s also the perfect time to exchange contact information and express a genuine interest in keeping the conversation going in the future. Let the person know you valued the interaction—this can set the stage for a more lasting and mutually beneficial connection.

Don’t Overdo Self-Promotion

Networking shouldn’t be confused with a sales pitch. If you dedicate your entire conversation to self-promotion, you’ll likely come off as pushy, which can be a turn-off. Networking is about establishing trust and forming bonds. Strive to promote yourself subtly by focusing more on what you can offer others, not just what you seek to gain. A good networker knows it’s about give and take.

Don’t Hog the Spotlight

Take heed of the 80/20 rule in conversations—listen 80% of the time and speak 20%. Dominating the dialogue can overwhelm others and is counterproductive. The goal is to create a balanced exchange that is enriching and engaging. By actively listening, you show that you value their perspective, which can help build a rapport that leads to more effective and meaningful interactions. Remember, the art of conversation lies in the balance, and that balance can lead to fruitful business relationships.

Also read: 5 Mistakes Most Young Entrepreneurs Make

Grow and Maintain Business Networking with Young Entrepreneurs of America

Welcome to Young Entrepreneurs of America (YEA), where visionary business minds ignite their potential. YEA is more than just an organization; it’s a pulsing hub that boosts the aspirations of emerging business leaders. Through a wealth of opportunities, this community is dedicated to nurturing growth and solidifying the future of young entrepreneurs.

Conquering the Networking Game

Imagine walking into a room and being encompassed by up to 50 individuals who share your entrepreneurial spirit and zest for success. YEA’s regular networking events make this invigorating scenario a reality. Participating opens doors to a realm where ideas flow freely, collaboration is the norm, and robust, enduring relationships take root. It’s a chance to meet peers and foster connections that could lead to your next big venture or partnership.

Mentorship as a Growth Catalyst

Having a mentor is like holding a lantern in the entrepreneurial journey—it sheds light, guiding you through the ebbs and flows of business. YEA’s doors swing open to reveal a treasure trove of mentors, rich in experience and ready to share battle-tested wisdom. This exclusive access allows you to absorb crucial insights, avoid common pitfalls, and advance confidently in the face of challenges with the curated expertise of individuals who’ve truly “been there, done that.”

Join Founder/Entrepreneur Guest Speaker Seminar [Multi-Millions Revenue] now!

Knowledge is Power: Monthly Educational Seminars

Stagnation is the enemy of progress. To combat this, YEA extends an invitation to dive into a consistent stream of knowledge through our monthly educational seminars. Here, industry connoisseurs impart the latest insights on trends, strategic business maneuvering, and the best practices for determining success. Attending these sessions ensures you remain at the forefront, wielding cutting-edge information to sharpen your competitive edge.

Savor Success at Dinner Meetups and Mixers

The richness of connection often shines through in the most laid-back environments. YEA’s dinner meetups and mixers help young entrepreneurs maintain business networking beyond the formalities. These are settings where laughter blends with opportunity, where a meal can unfold into a game-changing conversation. Forge deep personal and professional bonds with peers who understand the thrills and spills of the entrepreneurial path.

Checkout YEA’s FREE Happy Hour: Themed YEA Business Event – Dress Up!

The Toolbox for Triumph

What’s a craftsman without their tools? YEA provides more than camaraderie; it equips you with diverse resources. From vital information and intuitive templates to hands-on practical guidance, these tools are designed to make your raw potential a beacon of business acumen.

An Open Invitation

Commencing as an exclusive, private gem, YEA has branched out, extending its embrace to the public and inviting every young individual with a spark for entrepreneurship to join. This open policy cultivates a melting pot of ambition and backgrounds, reinforcing the fabric of our collective drive towards achievement.

Joining YEA is more than a commitment to your enterprise—it’s a declaration of your place in a community brimming with potential and the promise of mutual prosperity. Start your journey with the Young Entrepreneurs of America, and let’s ascend together on the entrepreneurial ladder.  We are here to help you maintain business networking effectively. Here, your business doesn’t just grow; it thrives enveloped by a network of excellence and empowerment.

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