Articles & Links

How to develop great professional relationships

How to develop great professional relationships  

“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” the saying goes, particularly in relation to career progression. Nurturing your network is pivotal to career success, it has been and probably always will be as the power of human connection is so important.  

I’ve learned through my work with clients it’s that by building a strong trusted network, you open yourself to career opportunities, business opportunities and personal and professional support. 

So how do you build great professional relationships that last? 

Be authentic and focus on meaningful and mutually beneficial interactions  

If you have to try to hard to connect with someone, it’s not worth it. It’s best to invest your time in quality, rather than quantity of relationships. The relationship should be mutually beneficial. It’s not about what you can gain but what you can give.  

 “The currency of real networking is not greed but generosity.” — Keith Ferrazzi 

Schedule time for nurturing  

People laugh at me for constantly referring to Stephen Covey’s quote “schedule your priorities, rather than prioritise your schedule” however it’s so true. If it’s not in the diary then it won’t happen. All great relationships take work, you need to be organised to plan the time to invest in them whether it’s lunch, coffee, zoom catch up and or sharing articles of interest, advice with each other.  You can’t expect great relationships to happen without investing the time to interact with each other.  

Be curious and not attached to any one specific outcome  

Some people will argue that it’s important to have a purpose or outcome in mind with any networking conversation. Sometimes you might have, however some of the best relationships have been forged through natural curiosity and seeing where the relationship may lead.  

Building a trusted network is more valuable than ‘networking’  

Those I work with that are more introverted often think of ‘networking’ with dread. The perception may be that ‘networking’ is shallow, you have to ‘sell yourself’ and it’s about walking into a big room and speaking to lots of people. I much prefer the phrase ‘building a trusted network’ it’s about quality rather than quantity and can be done effectively via 1:1 interaction virtual or face to face.  

The concept of is a really interesting one by Amanda King and Zella Scott. It challenge you think of the different roles people play in your lives and where there might be gaps in your network.  

Seek out diversity in your network  

We all have a natural tendency to seek out people ‘who are just like us;’ however it’s just as important have various people in your network who have a different background, different culture, different communication style etc. It will enrich your conversations, challenge your thinking and enhance your career learning and make you a better person with a more rounded outlook on life and work in general.  

Many of my friends and colleagues and network are very different from each other, very different personality types, however we do share common values.  

The time invested in building your connections can make a massive difference to you both personally and professionally. If you want further support on how to network effectively please get in touch. We always offer a free half hour call to offer some initial guidance to support you, and find out if coaching is right for you at this time.   

Additional resources 

You Coach You by Sarah Ellis and Helen Tupper Chapter 5: Relationships