Building – and Maintaining – a Strong Professional Network
A common trait I’ve seen in interviewing numerous successful fleet professionals over the years is that they’ve all learned how to cultivate a strong network.
Relationship-building is a critical skill for professional success because you never know when you’ll need to call on someone to help you get out of a jam, make an important connection for you, or expedite delivery of equipment or gear.
And the stronger and bigger your network, the more valuable you’ll become in your career.
But how can you keep in touch with people more efficiently and effectively, without consuming too much of your time or inconveniencing the other person?
I recently listened to a podcast that featured an interview with entrepreneur, podcaster and master networker Jordan Harbinger, who shared a simple technique for keeping in touch with people that can be valuable to all of us – no matter what our role might be.
The idea is that, when you scroll through your text messages, if you notice that it has been a while since you connected with a certain person, send them a quick text that goes something like this: “Been a while. What’s the latest with you? No rush on the reply. I know everyone’s busy.”
Here are three reasons why I think this template is effective:
1. It’s low key. You’re not asking anything of the recipient, and they don’t feel the obligation to reply – which, ironically, means that they’re more likely to respond.
2. It’s thoughtful. You’re letting them know that you’re thinking of them without an agenda. At this point, your goal is merely to strengthen that relationship – and your network as a whole – in a way that ultimately brings value to all parties involved.
3. It’s simple. You can do it while standing in line for coffee or waiting to get on your next flight. A few seconds here and there and you’ve strengthened bonds with people who could be vital to your success.
In some situations, it may not be appropriate to send a text. In that case, you could adapt Harbinger’s script as an email, using a more formal sentence structure. It could look something like this:
It’s been a while. What’s the latest with you? No rush on the reply. I know everyone’s busy.
Hope all is well with you and the family.
Give it a try. See if it can help you strengthen the bonds in your network without taking much time out of your day.
Sean M. Lyden