The longer you live and work in the city, the more your network will evolve. Relationships with former colleagues from jobs you held even five years ago are no longer as tight as they were when the two of you were burning the midnight oil to meet a crazy deadline or singing your lungs out during karaoke after a happy hour. New contacts soon replace them as times — and your career — change. As you accumulate these new contacts, building trust and credibility is crucial to maintaining a reliable and effective network, the kind of network that you can count on when your career hits a speed bump on the way to a corner office. Here are three tips on how to turn an acquaintance into a solid member of your network.
Remember small details
If you are terrible remembering names, write them down when you first meet new people. Chances are you’ll have your smart phone at the ready – simply turn to the side, open a new notes file and get names down so you can remember later. It’s a good idea to associate something interesting you observed about the new person to help trigger your memory for any future encounters.
Show up on time
You have a pretty small window to follow up with a new contact you’ve just met where it isn’t awkward to invite them to coffee or a cocktail after work. If you do arrange a meeting, show up on time, no exceptions. Being punctual demonstrates to your contact that you respect her time
Offer to help, in any way you can
Demonstrating how you can be a resource to a new contact is perhaps the best way to build trust and strengthen a simple acquaintance into something more. Showing the other person that you’re not just planning on using them for your own gain is a mature step that you need to learn to take.
The people in your network will be there for you in the future if they know that can depend on you when you need them. Once you get this down and demonstrate that you are selfless, your network will flourish, guaranteed.
Debra Wheatman is a certified writer and career coach who has guided the professional development of thousands of clients globally. She is reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org.