3 Tips to Building Professional Relationships

Brendan Wetton

COVID-19 has dramatically shifted how we interact with each other on a daily basis. Working remotely and virtual networking have become an integral part of our lives.

While it is unknown how the rise of the ‘digital office’ will affect the return to work, building and maintaining relationships will still play a critical role for young professionals.

Here are three tips to help build and maintain professional relationships:

#1 — Don’t Leave Your Personality Behind

Networking and building new professional connections is one of the most challenging aspects of being a young professional. We all ask ourselves questions like:

Did I present my best attributes? They seem uninterested in learning about my role?

Whether building professional relationships in-person or online, it can be daunting.

Similar to any brand searching for ways to engage with their customers in a meaningful way, professional relationships are built on trust. When building trust with new colleagues, clients, or even during networking events, it’s crucial to present an authentic representation of who you are.

Each one of us has a story to tell. By adding a personal element to your professional interactions you are able to stand apart from the crowd and create relationships that can be more meaningful over time.

#2 — Practice Active Listening

Active listening is an essential component of being able to build a network or engage with colleagues and clients in the professional world.

For many young professionals it can seem that the most important part of any interaction is the “hard sell”, the clock is ticking from the moment that you begin talking, especially when networking.  However, this approach might signal that you are only interested in expanding your network, instead of creating meaningful professional relationships.

Instead, be empathic. Let people tell their stories and ask relevant questions. Show that you are truly engaged in the conversation. Long-lasting professional relationships can be built and maintained through a clear understanding of a person's motivation and goals.

#3 — Know Your Own Goals

We tend to believe that making as many connections as possible provides the best results and opportunities. To build and maintain professional relationships this strategy works against young professionals.

Understand your own goals in order to determine a strategy to gain and maintain the professional relationships that will work best to advance your career..

Is this relationship worth continuing to develop? Would my time be better spent in another area? Do I plan to stay in this industry?

Understanding your goals allows you to build quality professional relationships. Your goal may be to meet as many new connections as possible.  It might be more effective to meet people in a relevant industry or a mentor to ask for advice.  Expend your energy on relationships that enhance your career goals.

Creating your own strategy allows you to narrow down your focus, in turn, giving insight into what you want to achieve by creating and maintaining a professional relationship.

Building Your Network Virtually

Discover ways to build your network virtually in the era of working remotely! Keep an eye out for additional tips and tools and events during YP Week about optimizing your online presence in the upcoming weeks.

Brendan is a marketing and design professional with an outstanding positive attitude. His high energy and passion for creativity come come in handy in his role as a community engagement coordinator working with businesses across Hamilton.