How to Start and Keep Professional Relationships
1. Don’t be afraid to get more personal when conversing. You don’t have to keep the conversation at the basic work level. Talk about any interests you have; you might even find some commonalities. Allow them to talk about their interests or how much they love their dog. It shows the person that you are interested in who they are, not just what they can do for you. A person is also more likely to remember who you are if you talked to them about something they enjoy or talked about something other than work.
2. Listen more than you talk. You have two ears and one mouth for a reason—to listen more than you talk. More than likely, you are looking to learn from the person so listening to their experiences can be a huge help. Also, if you don’t give the other person a chance to speak, they may think that you are not interested in what they have to say.
3. Do your research. If you are going to a conference, do some research on the keynote speaker. It will impress them if you know things about them other than the generic material that everyone knows. It also shows that you are invested in what they do and not just their status in the field.
4. Treat social media interactions as if they were face-to-face interactions. Social media is so important and a vital way to connect with people. Even if you have never met a person you can interact with them on social media. Make sure that you are just as professional as you would be in person when you decide to connect with someone on social media. It is even more important, because social media can seem very impersonal at times.
5. Keep in touch. What good is going through the hard work of making a connection when you stop talking to that person soon after? Make sure the person remembers you by not losing touch. A simple “hello” every now and then will go a long way. It also makes it less awkward if you need the person for something.