Let’s talk about networking. I tell you all the time that networking is one of the keys to success when it comes to navigating the corporate world in Canada. My first job came from networking with a guest speaker and my subsequent jobs came from networking with people in the organization I was working in.
Since 2016, none of my jobs have come from a job application, they have come from reaching out to people in my network or people in my network who have reached out to me.
While it’s great to network, a question I am asked often is “how do I maintain a connection with the people I network with?” A lot of times we meet someone at a networking event hit it off, and never speak again. Today, I’ll walk you through a few ways you can stay in touch with the people you networked with.
Remember, if you always network with people who you are genuinely interested in, it will be way easier to stay connected with them. And remember, it’s about the quality of your connections, not the quantity.
Here are 6 ways to stay connected:
- Post on social media – LinkedIn is the perfect place to do this.
Posting updates about yourself makes people feel like they relate to you and are a part of your life. They feel like they know you, what’s going on with you and much more when you’re consistently posting. Some things you can post about include the events you have attended, awards you have won, the success you are having at work, events you are going to speak at, and more. Remember to post with intention, not just to take up space.
- Engage with their social media posts
Similarly, engaging with other people’s social media posts is a way to keep up with their lives without having to speak to them regularly. To start a conversation, celebrate their successes and milestones that they have posted about. If they write an article, comment your genuine thoughts on it. If they are speaking at an event, attend the event and let them know your feedback and key takeaways.
- Set up regular touch-points with key contacts
We are all busy and we forget to meet up with people. Be more intentional about your outreach. In your phone or on your laptop, set up a reminder to message and check in with your contacts. After your initial meeting, set up a recurring quarterly meeting with them so it’s always in your calendars.
- Send holiday greetings
This is how I got my first job out of university! I sent a message to someone I networked with during my internship and said “Happy Holidays, hope you’re doing well”. We started up a conversation from there and the rest is history! Sending this kind of message is low effort, high reward action if done right.If you want to stand out, you can send a card to them (either virtual or mailed). If you really want to stand out, send a custom card with your branding. I got mine from Spreenge – tell them Reni sent you!
- Attend events you know you connection will attend
If they post about some great events they plan to attend, you can attend the same event and discuss what you liked about it. Make sure that you do this in a way that is authentic and not creepy.
- Send them updates about what you discussed with them.
This is the easiest way to restart a dead conversation with a connection. If in your initial networking meeting you said you were applying to a program, and you got into the program – tell them about it!
If you were looking to enter a certain industry and you’ve made strides into that industry, let them know. Similarly, you can tell them that you have not yet been successful, but are still trying.
I hope these tips help you keep those connections strong. Happy Networking!
If you want to watch the full video, check it out here.