Combining business networking with technical and managerial skills can ensure that your ascent in the corporate world continues unabated.
Ipseeta Aruni, has been sharing insights with us in a 3-part series on building and sustaining business relationships. Her other posts are as follows:
Post 1: How to network and build relationships for corporate success.
Post 2: Business networking tips: Take the relationship to the next level
Here’s the final post
If you have experienced the initial euphoria of building up your network, chances are it would have snowballed into a connection matrix. By now, connecting should have become second nature to you. One contact spirals into a multitude of connections driving your confidence and visibility on a steep upward trajectory.
But don’t let the adulation get to you, because the minute you do, you flop straight down to the bottom of the reputation curve which is why it is so important to keep in touch with the people who helped you up the ladder. You can do this in a manner that suits you, prioritize your contacts, segregate them into different lists, you can do this on Facebook too with the Lists feature. Now all you gotta do is stay on the radar.
An easy way to do this is to build a networking chart. Against each person’s name, assign the three most primary qualities the person admires, viz., involvement in sports, spiritualism, music etc. Do this for your first-level contacts (People with whom you are on a first name basis, and I don’t mean your peers, they can be your local club members or your senior managers but they should be a whole lot wiser than you and you should have a strong rapport with them).
Next step, keep track of the goings-on in their lives. Ensure you have those 2-min water-cooler conversations whenever you meet them, send them a note, give them a quick call while you are lunching/dining alone or travelling or broadcast information of consequence to them on your social network.
Dinner parties can be a great way to build strong relationships with a multitude of people and it’s not all that difficult to play the perfect host. You can very well order food from outside, but the ‘Have hands, will cook’ mentality will take you a long way in nurturing professional relationships. The choice of food has to be eclectic. If you have never really tried cooking, don’t despair. There are a number of good magazines that can up your culinary skills in a very short time. My personal favourite is ‘Good Food’, you can try and experiment with what suits you and what could be the simplest way to showcase culinary delights to an unsuspecting guest-list and steal their hearts.
Sports is another great way to connect and build relationships. Get involved in the company Cricket team. It doesn’t matter if you are not a pro, having the will to learn and practice helps. Everyone’s equal when it comes to playing a game, be it an Executive Director or a Junior Analyst, hence it throws open numerous opportunities to connect at an emotional level.
More so because it’s such an effective platform to size up people – whether they are up to handling challenges, how they deal with stress, what kind of personality they have and whether they gel with a team. All the time you are playing, somebody is sizing you up and forming mental impressions about your character traits. Make sure you make the most of it.
Another very important thing is to keep track of your USP. What makes you stand out. This and only this will fire your visibility drive. Explore your talents, try something new, have a mission and make it happen. Say, you have a penchant for dance and skating. Perfect these skills and get into figure-skating. Break the box!
When you are involved in something worth knowing about, spread the message, create a buzz! If you can, connect with media. And write, it gives you instant credibility and helps your brand in a way nothing else does. Happy networking!
Ipseeta is an electrical engineer by education, she loves exploring concepts and technologies that aim at drastically improving the performance of current software technology. She has numerous research papers to her credit. She is leading an initiative to redesign the website for Aarambh, an NGO based in Mumbai, to help generate more sponsorships and donations.
This post completes the 3-part series on Business Networking Tips. If you’d like to share your experiences and perspectives with Ipseeta, post them as a comment below.