We’ve all heard it before; in the business world, it is often who you know rather than what you know that will help you move upwards. While experience and skills are important, it will be hard to make the best use of them without a quality professional social network. Building relationships through professional social networking is not something that happens overnight, and needs to be handled with care. Whether you are looking for a job, trying to grow your business, or simply seeking more connection with like-minded professionals, you want to make sure you are presenting yourself in the right way in order to form a network of fruitful professional relationships for the future. Here are some important tips to keep in mind for forming professional relationships:
1) Put yourself out there
You will only be able to make professional connections if you are actually out in the world meeting people, so always be on the lookout for any social gathering or event where you could possible meet like-minded professionals, recruiters, and potential clients. Talk to as many people as possible when you are there.
2) Become a good listener
While it’s important to be able to discuss yourself and your abilities, communication is a two-way street. Being able to listen intently will make others feel important, and will allow you to learn valuable information that will benefit your career.
3) Seek to benefit others, instead of the other way around
While it’s natural to think about what you can get out of a professional relationship, going into it with that mentality can lead to unrealistic expectations and set you up for disappointment. Try to offer as much help as you can to others, and you will find the results way more rewarding. Not only will it boost your confidence knowing you made a difference in someone else’s life or career, it will make you way more approachable and likeable.
4) Make introductions
When you make a professional connection, see if you know anyone else in your network that you feel shares professional goals and interests with that person, or could offer them valuable advice on a certain topic.
5) Offer congratulations
When anyone in your professional social network experiences success in business, whether it’s a promotion, new job or acquiring a big client, send them a note congratulating them and checking in on how everything has been going. You can use this opportunity to catch up on what is new in the professional world for you as well.
6) Keep your pride in check
You want to be confident and have the ability to sell yourself, but keep it within the realm of reality. It will be of no benefit to yourself or others if you give an inaccurate representation of yourself. Also, be careful how much you talk about the accomplishments you have had, since coming across as a braggart is likely to turn people away.
7) Stick to your word
Be careful not to make empty promises, and follow through when you say you are going to do something, whether it is for yourself or someone else in your professional social network. This will give lead you to establish a solid reputation of being trustworthy and authentic.
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