Building and nurturing a community as you traverse your career journey is crucial. But what about those other connections in your network? You know, the ones you liked but somehow lost touch with. When you’re in “pursuit mode” – chasing a new job, launching a venture, or seeking freelance opportunities – you naturally engage with a variety of people.
However, when you’re not in full pursuit mode, you may ponder which connections are worth maintaining. This is a question I come across frequently in my work, and I’ve pondered it myself.
Have you ever grappled with when to reconnect with individuals in your network? If this question rings a bell, then this article is a must-read for you.
These 3 tips to build a better network can guide you in forming and sustaining authentic, purposeful connections.
1. Be Authentic in Your Networking
Before you reach out to a contact you’ve lost touch with, pause and ask yourself: Why do I want to maintain this connection? What value does it hold now and in the long run?
Connecting with people purely based on their position or network won’t necessarily yield meaningful, authentic relationships. If you genuinely like the person and foresee a mutual benefit in pursuing your purpose, whether it’s in the present or down the road, you have two valid reasons to keep them in your network.
2. Be Deliberate in Your Approach
Is there a contact you’d like to rekindle a connection with but feel uncertain about how to kickstart the conversation?
Perhaps you have a specific goal, like advancing your purpose either within your current role or beyond your day-to-day job. Alternatively, you might be looking further ahead, aiming to re-engage in purpose-driven work a year or two down the line when your schedule and career alignment allow.
Once you’ve clarified your intentions, reach out to gauge whether this contact would be open to reconnecting or having a conversation. Be transparent about your current situation and your aspirations, whether they are immediate or long-term.
To ensure the conversation is valuable, consider the following questions:
– Is there an opportunity for mutual learning?
– Can you offer support to this person in line with your current work?
– Is there a way to align your current position with their world?
If you can’t see any immediate or long-term benefits to staying in touch and can’t answer the questions above at this moment, it’s wise to hold off on reconnecting until you have a concrete reason to do so.
You might feel pressured to remain in “pursuit mode” even when you’re not embarking on something new. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a deep breath. Remember, meaningful connections are forged when you’re authentic, and you’re more likely to see results when you have a specific request.
3. Be Mindful in Your Networking Strategy
If it’s not the right time to reach out just yet, stay connected on platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, or other social media where both of you are active. Share content and insights that can keep the conversation going.
Staying engaged on a social network allows you to follow their work and interact by liking or commenting on their posts and events. It’s a low-pressure method of nurturing a relationship because it shows you’re paying attention and interested in their work without necessarily asking for their time or something from them.
You’ll also notice when they share questions or requests. For instance, they may be seeking new opportunities or looking to connect with someone you may know. This is an excellent way to identify how you can add value and makes it more natural to reach out when the time is right for your specific request.
Above all, have faith that your purpose-driven work will lead you down the right path and enable you to cultivate a robust, enduring network marked by meaningful relationships.
There you have it! 3 tips to build a better network. Now, I’d love to hear from you. Have you ever grappled with the uncertainty of reconnecting? What strategies have you employed to stay in touch with your network?