Most of us have heard about the importance of networking. However, 38% of professionals say it’s hard to say in touch with their network, according to LinkedIn. Networking can seem much more organic when done in person, but it is possible to maintain relationships in a virtual or hybrid world also. Keep reading for tips to stay in touch and possibly even continue to expand your connections.
The first step is to check in with your network. This could be attending in-person or virtual meetings or seminars with those you wish to reconnect with. If this isn’t an option, make sure you have connected on professional social media pages. It can be helpful to check the suggested people to add as well in case there are people you may have missed.
Next, take a little bit of time to have personal and genuine interactions. This could look like a simple message. For example, “I hope you’re doing well. I saw your name as I was scrolling and thought I’d check in and say hi!” If a short message seems too formal, stay in touch by liking posts from those in your network, comment and congratulate people on their accomplishments, and engage in posts on your connections’ threads to extend your network.
One impactful and easy way to stay connected is to remember who the people in your network are. It sounds obvious, but the more you can remember about those in your network, the easier and more genuine your interations will be. Keep little notes about important moments with your relationships, how you know the person, and things that show you were listening during previous interactions. From there, you could even set reminders on your phone or calendar to remember important dates to reach out to specific contacts.
Whether you run into someone in person while grabbing coffee, come across something on social media, or end up in the same Zoom room, remember every interaction is an interview. We all have “off” days, but when it comes to building and maintaining your professional network, muster up any energy you can to have an impactful and beneficial conversation. Another option is to limit social media interactions or contacts on days you know you might not be able to give off the best impression.