10 Tips For Nurturing Professional Relationships Even When You’re Busy

“Build your network” is common advice given to professionals looking to find new jobs, make major business moves and succeed in their careers. But when the busyness of life and work sets in, it can sometimes be difficult to build and then nurture those relationships so they maintain their strength over time.

Without these relationships, you may miss out on potential opportunities or connections that could play an important role in your future success. To help you find the balance needed to manage both your network and your personal life, 10 members of Young Entrepreneur Council offer their top advice for maintaining professional relationships while also prioritizing your personal ones.

1. Prioritize A Small Number Of People

As with all things in life, networking should be done intentionally. If you are busy, focus on keeping in touch with a small group of people whom you believe can add value to your development and provide you with opportunities. Schedule meetings or calls on a regular basis and always keep them in mind. Send them an article. Tag them in a post. Share information that they would be interested in. Make sure they know you are thinking about them. – Zane Stevens, Protea Financial

2. Join The Right Groups

I join high-level mastermind groups that typically meet six to eight times per year. If your time is limited, that amount is pretty much all you need when you are part of the right groups. These groups typically communicate via Facebook or a similar platform throughout the year. The people that are worth staying in touch with will make the time. But the reason I like these types of mastermind groups is because in those six to eight days of the year, you are doing most of the networking you will need to skyrocket your business. – Philip Smith, PJP Marketing

3. Block Time On Your Schedule

Trying to build, nurture and maintain a network can feel like a full-time job in and of itself. You’re not only busy running a business and maintaining a healthy work-life balance, but you’re also scheduling meetups to strengthen professional relationships—it can be a lot to juggle. But those connections you make can impact your life and business for years to come. What was a simple introduction a year ago could turn into a valuable opportunity today. You might meet a lifelong mentor, a business partner or a like-minded friend. Just as you would with anything else important, schedule in time for networking activities and industry events. Block out time once a month where you attend an event, reach out on a video call or meet at a local coffee shop. Even just 30 minutes goes a long way in nurturing network relationships. – Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker

4. Leverage The Efficiency Of Technology

Leverage technology to maintain connections efficiently. Schedule virtual coffee chats via Zoom or Microsoft Teams, use video conferencing for meetings and stay engaged with your network through social media platforms or professional networking sites. – Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC

5. Meet Up When Traveling

Spend some time engaging with your network on LinkedIn all day. Sometimes a small comment in support of somebody will keep you top of mind. I also make a point to see people when I travel, so I always check before traveling to see who I know in a city, contact them and set something up to meet in person. You might as well take advantage of the fact that you’re in the same city to meet up. People will appreciate this. And, always encourage them to contact you when traveling to your city. Letting people know you’re always open to meet is half the battle. – Andy Karuza, NachoNacho

6. Contribute To The Community

The best way to maintain and nurture network relationships is by contributing to the community. Professionals often tend to seek benefits from their network, but they’re laid back when it comes to giving something back to the community. With this frame of mind, they may be able to grow their network at the start, but it would be difficult for them to maintain their connections. So, it’s great to share something of value from time to time and be a giver for the community. It’ll be a win-win for all and help you ensure fruitful relationships in the long run. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

7. Turn Your Personal Passions Into Opportunities

Your personal passions can be networking opportunities. If you love working out, get a gym membership and have some business cards on hand for those inevitable chats that happen. This applies to any activity you might be passionate about. You may want to supplement by getting into the habit of sending out a few invites on social platforms each day as well. Use the platform where you are most active to do this. Don’t give up if there is no action right away. Keep up with your hobbies and invites, and make sure you have something to offer, as it is not a one-sided ask. Know what you can give in a conversation, not just what you want to get. – Tyler Bray, TK Trailer Parts

8. Focus On Small Gestures

You don’t have to do a lot to actively maintain a network, especially when you’re busy. Just try to make small gestures like leaving a comment or sending a quick note. Anything to let people know you’re thinking of them goes a long way. Small gestures are far more effective than making effusive overtures after gaps in communication. Focus on engaging in small ways time and again and this will keep your network alive. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

9. Call To ‘Just Say Hi’

Navigating a busy schedule and maintaining a network can seem challenging, but it can be managed effectively with “Just Saying Hi” calls. Use your driving or commuting times to personally connect with your network. Pick up the phone, no agenda, just to check in and see how they’re doing. This seemingly simple act brings a personal touch to a digitally saturated world and keeps relationships warm. In an era when people crave genuine connections but are often hesitant to initiate, you’ll not only stand out but also strengthen your bonds. – Devesh Dwivedi, Higher Valuation

10. Make It Part Of Your Everyday Actions

I’ve found the best way is to incorporate networking into my everyday actions. Scrolling through LinkedIn? I like, share or comment on stuff people from my network posted—any interaction does the trick. I’m texting my wife? I haven’t talked to John in a while; let’s ask him what’s up. I just read an interesting article? I’ll share it and get a debate going. Someone tells me about a professional issue he has? Well, I know just the person to solve it, so I’ll make the connection. If you’re not used to networking this way, just start training that muscle and, eventually, it’ll come naturally. – Idan Waller, Bluethrone

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