In the previous posts I talked about why it’s important to build a network and how you can do it but there is still one component missing. Any guesses?
How do we maintain our network once we have built it?
Stay In Touch
You spent all this time and put effort into building a network. Are you going to let this effort go to waste? I hope not. It’s important to stay in touch every now and then and check in how your friends are doing. This could be by sending an e-mail, a text message, just giving them a call or going for a lunch. Don’t contact them only when you need their assistance. Don’t be a leech. Show that you appreciate them and the help you have received from them in the past.
Return The Favor
One of your contacts helped you with a technology or troubleshooting an issue which helped you move forward in a project. The next time they may require assistance from you. When this time comes, maybe you are very busy at work. Do you simply turn them down? I hope not and if you do don’t expect any help the next time you ask them. Maintaining a network is about taking and giving. Even if you are busy, make some time or tell them that you will get back to them in the evening or the next day or whatever.
Expand The Network
Don’t be afraid to expand your network even if the person that wants to join your network is not as experienced as you. Don’t understimate the power of paying it forward. This person may also have reach into other networks and organizations that would be beneficial to you. Worst case you make a new friend. Is that so bad? 🙂 I know from experience that it’s difficult helping out everyone that contacts you if you are a somewhat known person in the industry. I always try to answer in a polite manner though.
I hope these series of non technical posts has been helpful in inspiring you to go out and network! There may be some more posts coming up on how to build a mindset for certifications and topics in that range. Good luck in your building of networks!