An old friend pops up…
A friend of yours who has not bothered to keep in touch with you suddenly calls you up and insists you join him for lunch at the newly launched Italian restaurant in town. You are mildly alarmed. Your first reaction would be ‘what does the fellow want from me now?’
…and wants a favour from you
You will probably spend the next few days racking your brain trying to come up with a plausible reason for your old friend’s new urge to reconnect with you. You will make up your mind to be on your guard and not concede to any attempt at extracting undue favours from you.
Not a pleasant experience
Your smooth-talking friend may not have been successful at getting you to do him a favour because you correctly deduced that he was connecting with you just for the purpose of extracting a particular favour from you. And you were not exactly pleased at being used by him.
It’s awkward for you
For most people though, asking favours of others is awkward. You are aware that you are connecting with people with an intention to extract a favour from them. You are also aware that the person you are trying to use is also aware of the fact.
Not a ready meal
Relationships are not ready meals that can be just taken out of fridge, warmed and eaten. They are more like gourmet meals which require careful picking of right ingredients, measuring and mixing in right quantities, and paying constant and loving attention to the cooking process.
A human touch
First and foremost, building relationships and not making ad hoc contacts is key to your networking success. Invest in human emotions, get involved, enjoy others’ success, lend a helping hand or may be even a shoulder, when things go wrong.
Follow a plan
Making the social engagement process a part of our daily life is the best way to do it for two reasons: first, it will not appear forced; and second, it will soon become part of your daily routine. Every human being wants reassurance that they have other people to turn to for help.
- The moment you go online ping a few people, ‘like’ their posts and leave a comment or two. Networks like linkedIn make this easier by highlighting an individual milestone.
- Share useful information such as an ebook or a bargain offer with others in the group.
- Plan a weekend activity based on shared mutual interests with a member of your group.
- Hold a monthly family event where there is further scope for strengthening of the relationship and a chance to meet new people.
- Key to creating a genuine relationship is by getting involved, showing appreciation, sharing useful resources and being there always and not when you feel the need for it.