As public relations professionals, we know that the relationships we build are extremely important. Whether you meet a fellow PR professional in an elevator, or run into a potential client on the street, conversation should never end there. The error made in building and maintaining these relationships comes when you only make contact when it’s self-serving. That is, you only connect with that individual when you need something.
It is important to remember that these connections shouldn’t stop when your job has been fulfilled. You know that friend that only comes to you when they need help, but he/she is never willing to give it in return? Yeah, not much of a friend. The same theory applies to your job. When maintaining your business relationships, try to go above and beyond your call of duty. I’ve compiled a short list of what I like to call “maintenance reminders” – things to remember when building your professional connections.
- Consistency. Maintain constant contact beyond your own needs. When it comes down to successfully developing your professional relationships, understand that consistency is key. Don’t contact that person when it’s only a matter of your own convenience.
- The Small Things. Remember interests, birthdays, or previous conversations. Send emails that have relevance to the person’s life outside of work-related communications.
- Go out of your way. Everyone runs into a problem at some time or another. If a colleague is struggling with reaching out to the right media contact, make yourself available to assist them. Chances are, when you need a favor in return, that colleague will remember the time you saved them in their time of need.
- Introduce. One of my biggest pet peeves is the awkward “stand around” – when two people are talking and don’t introduce their respective parties. A valuable business skill is learning when to be courteous to your guests. This includes enabling other connections.
- Timeliness. Similar to consistency, maintain contact on a regular basis. This isn’t to say that you need to contact the person every week. However, don’t send them an email every month for two months, and then avoid contact for two years. Keep it timely.
Do you have other recommendations for maintaining your professional connections? Sound off below or tweet me @Sam__Dickson!