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It’s hard to make time for networking within your already busy work schedule, but it’s important not to let your networking efforts slack. There’s no need to make networking an impossible chore or burden. If you don’t have the time to participate in networking events and conferences regularly, it’s wise to break up your networking agenda into smaller and simpler tasks to tackle.
When networking, it’s really the thought that counts. People appreciate it when you go out of your way to do something that isn’t necessarily required. Going one step beyond reflects well on you as a professional and as a person. Therefore, these small tasks can be just as important as attending networking events and interacting face-to-face. Add these 5 small to-do’s to your agenda in order to stay in touch without sacrificing too much of your work or personal time:
1. Reach out to one person each month that you haven’t spoken to in a while. That’s only twelve people a year, so make these interactions count! Put some thought into it by refreshing your memory on their work situation and personal life before making each call or writing each email.
2. Need a 15-minute break from work? Use that time wisely. Connect with new people and interact with old acquaintances on LinkedIn during your down time. This can be as simply as liking or commenting on a connection’s post or sending an invitation to connect.
3. You already look over industry news for your own personal interest, so why not go one step further by sharing it with someone? If a certain article relates a person you know or even details an acquaintance’s success, share it with that person or congratulate him or her accordingly.
4. Respond to networking emails and calls on a weekly basis. By taking a couple minutes to chat or write an email, you avoid the burden of letting these correspondences pile up and the added task of apologizing for your delay in response.
5. Refer and recommend people. Being the middleman is still a form of valuable relationship building. Helping out a colleague with a favor leaves a really positive impression on all involved parties and strengthens the value of your advice and character to others.
Networking is an important part of business and cannot only be relied upon in moments of need. It’s an ongoing process that should be nurtured over time. You never know when you’ll need to rely on your network, so it’s best to keep in touch. These small tasks will help you stay connected without adding too much stress to your workload.
Looking for networking opportunities? Check out Ashton Tweed’s networking calendar for events.
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