How To Build Connections in 10 Steps (With Benefits)

Updated March 20, 2023

Building connections is one of the most important ways to help ensure your professional success. Learning how to create and maintain your network can help you find new job opportunities, improve your skills, or attract new clients. Having a solid network of professional connections can help you discover and excel in new career opportunities while benefitting from the support and guidance of your contacts. In this article, we explain how to build connections in 10 steps, discuss why it's important, and review the benefits of creating personal and professional connections.

Read more: Guidelines on How to Network

How to build connections

If you're wondering how to build connections in your personal and professional life, here are 10 steps you can follow:

1. Be active in your industry

You can take part in professional organization events that your industry may host, or you can attend conferences related to your profession. Attending these events may provide you with access to a wide range of professionals in your field. Networking events are usually an excellent way to connect with peers and senior industry professionals. Conferences and professional organizations often offer casual events besides their formal ones, allowing you to establish stronger bonds by making a personal connection.

Related: 11 Types of Networking Events To Attend For Professional Growth

2. Be outgoing

Whether you're an introvert or an extrovert, you can find hobbies or events that interest you to encourage you to interact with new people. It's possible to meet people that can serve valuable roles in your professional network, even when you meet them at an event that isn't work-related. If being outgoing doesn't come naturally to you, you can practice this skill in your daily activities by motivating yourself to engage in small talk or having conversations with colleagues more often. The more practice you get, the more comfortable you may be when building new connections.

Related: Top 5 Networking Skills and How to Develop Them

3. Establish multiple levels of contact

It's important to have several ways to communicate with people you meet, such as via email or phone. Having multiple ways of contacting the people you meet can help ensure your ability to communicate with them when necessary. It can also allow you to set preferred communication methods. For example, you can use phone calls or texts for essential situations, and email for basic relationship maintenance or sending casual messages to one another.

4. Discover commonalities

When meeting someone for the first time, finding shared interests or responsibilities can provide a helpful source of discussion. The common interests may be personal or professional. For example, if you're in an interview and notice that you went to the same college as the hiring manager, you may mention this connection. Commonalities can provide a good foundation for relationships because they can offer both people important insights into one another.

Related: Networking for Introverts (Step-by-Step Guide with Tips)

5. Provide value

Whether you're connecting on a personal or professional basis, reciprocity is key to building relationships. In reciprocal relationships, both participants offer benefits to each other, helping to create a balanced partnership. If you're asking for help, it's essential to show that you can offer your help or support in their time of need. Ensuring a balance of giving and taking in the relationship can show genuine respect and concern for one another.

6. Express gratitude

When someone does you a favour, the simplest way to make them feel appreciated is to show how grateful you are. When people feel appreciated, it can encourage them to maintain and strengthen the relationship. You can show your gratitude with a note, an email, or a small gift. Expressing your appreciation shows that you recognize their value and that you're grateful for their generosity.

Related: How to Thank Someone for Their Time (With Examples)

7. Publish your work

You can take advantage of industry journals or blogging platforms to share your work and get noticed by people in your field. Rather than keeping your work to yourself, publishing it can make it accessible to others to read and share. Sharing your work can be a great way to connect with people in different parts of the world. Some readers may share their thoughts on your work, or it could motivate them to connect with you to work more on the topic. Publishing your content can give you an excellent opportunity to find like-minded people within your industry.

8. Develop an online presence

You can use social media platforms or a personal website to develop an online presence that you can use to connect with professionals in different areas. You can engage in online discussions by following industry blogs or thought leaders on social media platforms and professional groups. Online platforms may enable you to share and find resources to support one another and establish connections. When you meet people, you can exchange social media accounts or professional websites with them. Your new connections can contact you via social media platforms, giving them a chance to learn more about you.

9. Act as a host

A great way to meet people and form bonds is by planning and hosting events. You can create an industry group or facilitate an industry event. As the host of the event, you may become the point of contact for anyone interested in participating. This can help you build connections before or after the event by listening to people's comments or answering their questions. Focusing on industry-related events or groups can give you the chance to find like-minded individuals and may lead to further professional opportunities.

10. Maintain important contacts

Once you make the initial connection, it's vital to continue working toward building the relationship. Periodically messaging or calling them can be an excellent way to maintain important contacts, such as mentors and clients. There are many ways you can stay in contact. You can send a holiday card or email to reconnect and discuss opportunities. Spending effort can show that you value the relationship, and it may help them remember you when they learn about any potential job opportunities.

Benefits of building connections

When you start to build your network of connections, you may discover some benefits to strengthening and maintaining these relationships. The following are some of the most important reasons to work on building connections:

New job opportunities

Having a professional network can be an excellent way to find new career opportunities. Your network can alert you to any new, relevant job openings, including those posted internally within a company that may not be available in other job banks. Your network can also be helpful when you're applying for a job by providing recommendations or serving as a reference for you.

Related: Why Is Networking Important? (With Benefits and Tips)

Increased resourcefulness

Establishing connections can help make you more resourceful. When you improve multiple relationships, you may have more people to ask for help if you encounter a difficult situation. They can identify potential solutions or offer support. Having a network can provide you with access to new job offers and opportunities to advance your career. Your network can provide you with a sense of job security by offering you support in a variety of ways when searching for a new role.

Mentorship relationships

Forming a strong bond with an experienced professional in your field can provide you with the opportunity to learn from them and improve your skills. Receiving mentorship from a trained professional can allow you to benefit from their experience, helping you to develop your skills while avoiding the mistakes they may have made. You may improve your performance at work by gaining new skills and knowledge with a mentor's help.

Related: How to Build a Successful Mentor Relationship in Five Steps

Increased development

You can develop more quickly as a professional because of the connections you have in your network. Your contacts can teach or inspire you to improve your knowledge and skills. Some of the best ways to grow your network, such as attending conferences, workshops, and professional events, can also put you in a position to advance professionally.

Expanded clientele

Building connections can lead to forming bonds with potential customers. Having these customers in your network can be an excellent way to build loyalty. Clients may be more likely to think favourably about the services you provide when they feel connected to you. This can lead them to recommend you to their peers and friends, which can help you build your client base.

Related: What Does a Relationship Manager Do? (Plus Tips)

Faster promotion

When you connect with senior staff, it may help you increase your opportunities for promotion. If they already have a positive relationship with you, they may appreciate your abilities or experience level. Their knowledge of you may increase the chance of them naming you for a promotion or helping you advance within the organization.

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