Sharing the same value system is the key ingredient when connecting with other professionals
Establishing genuine and valuable connections and maintaining them in the long term is one of the most challenging things when networking. It’s not easy finding that common ground that pushes professionals to bond right away and create a relationship based on trust and respect.
Building a good network is not just about the quantity of people you ‘collect’, it’s mainly about the quality of people that you decide to connect with and share your ideas, know-how and value system.
Hedge fund billionaire Ray Dalio, in his book Principles: Life and Work, ‘argues that meaningful relationships are key to success and happiness. Humans are social creatures and we thrive when we are in sync with others, whether we are building a company, or sharing a meal.’ If you want to improve your networking techniques learn from the best and don’t miss some of the best books in 2019.
The occasions where networking becomes an opportunity are usually conferences, professional events, working environments, meetings. Yao Huang, venture capital investor and serial entrepreneur, says that, conferences are attended by professionals that were asked to participate due ‘to their senior title, regardless of whether they have any new insight or good public skills. Chasing jobs, rather than qualities, creates bland and boring networks.’ Many of the best entrepreneurs and well-connected professionals suggest that you should avoid starting a conversation focused solely on business issues; concentrate more on the personal qualities and not so much on the professional skills, in order to connect in a more empathetic way.
But how can you really build and maintain an authentic network based on value and loyalty? Here are some practical tips:
Having a good reputation is also about being genuine and consistent
Building a positive reputation is about presenting yourself just the way you are. Don’t be afraid to expose your most genuine and enthusiastic side. The golden rule in this case is to avoid lying to other professionals, because this will discredit you. If you want to have a good reputation be consistent and prove that you can be a loyal and trusted person. A good strategy for building a homogeneous and strong reputation is trying to diversify the type of events or conferences you decide to attend. This will show your curiosity and versatility. Keep in mind that going to the same social occasions can induce people to think that you are just hunting for some specific job opportunities.
If you connect through social media don’t miss the chance to organize a business lunch in person
Nowadays, creating the first contact through social media is quite common. It might seem a cold-hearted approach but, in reality, makes everything more agile. But this type of interaction needs to be translated in the real life, and a meeting in person is always the best way to create a true bond. In this stage it’s not advisable to share too many personal details: keep those for later, when you are really going to meet the person.
Follow up and don’t use your connections just when you need them
Building or extending your network through authentic relationships is also about caring about the people that are part of your professional path. Don’t forget that these are the people who can become part of your support system, so once in a while take your time and get in touch with your closest connections.
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