Building professional relationships: how to nurture them successfully

What do you mean by building professional relationships? What is networking? For the sake of clarity, I want to start by giving you a definition of this first term: under this concept are understood all those relationships, acquaintances, and ties that one is able to establish and that bring benefits in the business sphere.

Like all types of ties, professional ones need to be nurtured and cultivated; if we have not heard from a person in years or interacted with our colleagues, we certainly cannot assume that they are part of our network of contacts.

Networking, on the other hand, means the activity of building professional relationships, meeting and communicating with many people in order to obtain useful information that can help you, especially at work.

building professional relationships in schools

With the advent of digitization and social networking, the ways of establishing relationships have been enhanced and partly simplified, becoming at least accessible and practicable to all.

On the web, “equal rights” prevail, one only has to think of the LinkedIn channel where it is possible to send messages and have interactions with prominent personalities, CEOs, managers, or directors from all over the world, which is impossible in an everyday context.

This has led to the development of new job prospects today. In fact, many people are choosing to acquire in-depth knowledge of the dynamics of online communication thanks to Digital PR courses that allow you to specialize or retrain, opening up employment opportunities in the digital field such as Digital PR Specialist or Social Media Specialist.

Now you know the meaning of building professional relationships and networking, we can get into the topic about which I will explain:

  • The importance of building professional relationships;
  • how to build useful and stable knowledge;
  • how to keep your network active.

How important are professional relationships?

We have all heard of “public relations” in the business sphere, so the question arises: are professional relations really that important? Without mincing words, my answer is Yes, indeed, they are fundamental.

Building a network of relationships can be considered a real job, which you have to develop and grow constantly if you want to be successful. Networking is also to be considered a skill, which for some may be more natural and pleasant while for others a real difficulty.

The character factor can have an impact, those who are more sociable and open to knowledge will be easier to establish professional relationships, but this does not mean that everyone else should be discouraged from the start and abandon the idea.

The advice I can give to the more timid is to make an effort. Although this kind of activity may seem trivial and useless to you, it is not at all.

Sometimes, it is not enough to be the best in our field to get that much sought-after position, there are several factors that come into play including the right knowledge component that can help you in finding viable alternative outlets.

Building professional relationships is indeed useful to develop dialogues from which other interesting connections are in turn triggered.

A relational domino effect: as you discover and get to know new professionals thanks to the connections in your network, you may prove to be instrumental in achieving your professional or social goals.

By implementing this strategy, you can make yourself known more easily, your reputation may precede you and your skills will be passed on quickly and more strongly.

Social and professional relations

Professional and social relationships are intersected when we talk about networking.

The most effective way to weave one’s own network is undoubtedly through first-person, direct contact, which allows one to fortify ties by interacting with people not only for work-related reasons but also for pure pleasure and based on experiences and passions in common with the other.

In offline mode, real relationships are cultivated that go beyond the world of work and spill over into online reality.

The possibilities offered by online communication, such as messages, phone calls, video calls, or emails, are at the same time effective tools with which to define our acquaintances, and social distancing has confirmed the primacy of the digital, thanks to which we can keep relationships alive.

How to build a network of professional relationships?

We have finally arrived at the crux of the matter: how do you build professional relationships? There are many things to do, which is why building good relationships is considered a difficult task.

As I said at the beginning of this paper, for introverts, it is necessary to make an effort and get active in this regard, but building professional relationships puts a strain on even the most expansive.

To make it easier for you, without neglecting any aspect, I have compiled a list of 6 essential steps for networking. Read on if you are interested!

Get noticed

Here is the sore point for the shy. The first step in building professional relationships is to make yourself visible and thus reachable to others. You need to be active and interact on social networking sites, participate in conversations on forums to have your say, and constantly update your website and blog.

If you have one, along with all those things that make sure you are heard and above all show your face, no one likes to be confronted by someone who may not be very clear. LinkedIn can be a valuable ally in this, this platform was created for people to interact with each other in a strictly professional context.

Look for professionals in your field and connect with people who have always inspired you or who you think add value with their content and from whom you can learn a lot. Secondly, write, comment, and post content that shows what you are an expert in and that can be of use to your followers.

Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram can also serve this purpose, depending on what your business is, once online, you will understand which channel best suits your needs. Otherwise, without wasting time experimenting, my advice is to first research your competitors to see how and where they are spending their money.

I understand the difficulties and the enormous effort you will have to make but trust me, if you have come this far, it is because you want to put yourself out there and push your limits, you will not regret it.

Your contacts at the basis of efficient relations

Building professional relationships starts with the foundation of your existing contacts. Begin by reaching out to people close to you, such as family members and those in your private life, then think about everyone you have ever dealt with: schoolmates, former professors, old flatmates, the friend from the beach, that nice couple you met on holiday, the parents of your children’s friends or your neighbors.

This is good training to practice and refine our way of communicating even if it will not benefit us at work.

Offline relations

Every opportunity is good to establish employment relationships so it is good to be open to new experiences and to take every valid opportunity. I have already mentioned the importance of social relationships, they are crucial for building professional relationships.

Do not only make online connections prevail but always cultivate all kinds of activities through which you can interact in different contexts: from the gym to events, meetings, and leisure centers. But also cultural associations and voluntary work.

All of these environments can allow you to broaden your horizons and interface with different personalities, but above all they allow you to be yourself, freeing you from the strictly work-related dynamics.

We often say that “the world is a small place”, the more people you meet and associate with, the more you will discover that we are all connected in one way or another: contacts bring other contacts.

Events are good for building professional relationships

In addition to pleasure relationships, professional ones should also be cultivated, which is why it is a good idea to attend events in your business sector. That way, you will meet new experts, successful companies, and sponsors. Monitor occasions such as:

  • conferences
  • conferences
  • work parties
  • alumni events
  • round tables
  • presentation of books
  • webinar
  • trade fairs.

On these occasions you will be able to learn a lot, exchange essential information and meet new people in a way that will enhance your professional relationships, open you up to new stimuli and identify alternative outlets.

Don’t forget to enter the fray, for example, by asking for clarification, you will be able to get noticed and perhaps raise points from which interesting discussions will arise. Try not to be too embarrassed, there is no such thing as a stupid question; on the contrary, they are demonstrations that show interest.

Follow up

The exact term for this practice is a follow-up, which means “following up” or “calling attention”. This activity consists of sending an email, a message, an invitation on LinkedIn, or making a phone call to a person you have recently met following an occasion, such as an event or business lunch.

Making this gesture will allow you to stick with the recipient and confirm your interest in them. Even better, if in the message in which you reveal to him that it was a pleasure to meet him, you provide him with an additional reason to remember you:

the contact details of the other person present at the time of the meeting, a piece of content that refers back to what you talked about, or even a resource of yours such as an e-book. Doing follow-up allows you to build valuable and concrete professional relationships.

Maintaining an online presence is critical for fostering valuable relationships with other professionals.

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How to manage professional relationships

Once you have understood how to build a valid network of professional relationships, it is only fair to explain a few little tricks to better manage these same relationships. Did you think you were done? Alas no, your plant has just grown and will not stand on its own, you need to take care of it to see its fruits.

Here are four best practices to remember when seeking to establish strong professional relationships.

manage professional relationships

Network Maintenance

There is no point in having met and added new people on LinkedIn and Facebook if you never hear from them or interact with them. Building professional relationships requires more than just making connections; it needs ongoing engagement and interaction. Thanks to tools such as social media, we can always stay in touch and make our presence felt even in difficult situations such as the one we are experiencing, so we have no more excuses.

We do not have to resurrect some relationships only in times of need, such as when we are looking for a new job or worse, in serious difficulties. To be fruitful and generate opportunities, relationships must always be active.

It is inherent in each one of us not to look for others when we are well and everything seems to be running smoothly, whereas it would be precisely on these occasions that we could make new connections, give the best of ourselves and convey a lot of energy and creative ideas.

Helping others

If until now you have thought that the sole purpose of building professional relationships is to receive something in return and obtain exclusively personal gain, you are missing the point. The universe does not only revolve around you.

Forging relationships means give and take, and in order to establish solid working relationships it is right to prove yourself useful and helpful, providing your know-how to anyone who needs it.

It might be nice to write reference letters, send interesting content to whoever you think might need it, point out useful tools, put potential partners in touch, or let them know when you discover open job positions by forwarding an ad you saw on LinkedIn.

These are simple spontaneous favors through which you will receive gratitude and recognition in return. Sure, some will not, but most of the people you help will hardly forget you and will be ready to reciprocate.

Remember them

Those who know how to cultivate working relationships leave nothing to chance: one of the practices constantly applied by the “expert relationist” is to congratulate others on their achievements and/or successes; to comment on posts they like, arguing why; to send thank-you emails after a pleasant meeting; or to send thoughts, cards or messages on anniversaries.

The successful gestures of the “expert relator” all involve one thing, remembering most of the details. I am not suggesting that you memorize every birthday or add more thoughts to your daily routine, but you can start by paying attention to the little things, listening, and taking a real interest in others.

A good technique is to write down all the information you need to remember. Do you think it’s overkill? Most experts in human relations do this, you will be amazed at the positive reactions you can trigger simply by remembering your children’s names or an anecdote you talked about some time ago with an acquaintance. Try it to believe!

Set appointments

Another good habit of building professional relationships as an “experienced relator” is to set recurring appointments. In this case, these are physical and virtual encounters involving the sphere of acquaintances with whom he or she is accustomed to dating, but also those whom he or she has never seen before and with whom he or she only has relationships via social networks.

Even during business trips, it might be a good idea to contact everyone in the place where one is going to take the opportunity to see each other again or even to get to know each other directly for the first time.

Conclusions and Coaching on what to do

You will have noticed that weaving professional relationships is a practice that requires a lot of commitment and dedication. Many times you will get discouraged, you will have many doors closed in your face, you will receive so many no’s and you will wonder why it is always you who take the first step.

My final piece of advice is, never give up! Behind so many rejections there are just as many beautiful new discoveries and supportive people who are happy to relate to you. Continue on your way and refine your techniques more and more, and make the most of the possibilities offered by digital, it would be a shame to waste them.

Knowing how to increase your business or understanding the right strategy for your business can help you better define your goals and understand how to move online to increase your professional relationships!

 

Take the first steps towards building successful professional relationships. Request a free consultation and let us guide you!

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