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I would really appreciate anyone's input on these questions. Here's the situation,

I am a graduating senior from Miami University. I am moving to Chicago this summer after a brief trip to China. I have listened to the "Building your Network" podcast more than once and it resonates very true with me in managing nearly any relationship.

Currently, I have been very lucky to already know/meet many high up people in and around Cincinnati but I am wondering how I can continue to build a relationship with them. Most of these individuals I have met through family friends but would like to make a relationship that can function without that middle man.

Obviously I want to make sure I stay in contact with these people not just because they are nice people, but also because they are very intelligent and well networked people in and around the city. Yet, what can i give to them that they don't already have. These people are set for life most being 40-60 years old and owning/running their own businesses.

Am I being greedy and choosing who I allow in my network, or am I smart to stay in contact with people that could someday be of a great help to my career? These people have enough people riding on their coatails and I do not want to be in that category. I want to give and add value to their lives but I dont' know how or if appropriate.

So a few questions I am concerned with:

What can I give to these people that actually adds value to their life (any ideas appreciated)?

How do I manage these relationships being in another city? and already not being that close?

I have met these people and they know who I am, is it out of line to stay in contact with them? am i going to be a bother?
(I ask because my father is a high c, rarely utilizes his network, and I know he would be like, why is this college kid trying to be my friend? This is unless of course their was something of real value I could give him.)

Thanks again for any input, I have so much to learn in this next year, I at least want to know i am building/managing my network correctly.

Thanks,

MBS

Mark's picture

MBS-

You're not being greedy. They're in your network, so there they stay. You needn't have perfect balance in your network... the point is to not discriminate at the top of the funnel.

You can give your time to causes they care about. You can share what you're doing in your career - that might give them insights into what they're doing. You can pay attention to their industry and share with them what you learn and hear. Showing interest in what someone else does, and commenting is a form of a gift. It say, "I know what you do, and care about it." You remember important industry seasons, and respect their time then. You remember dates and people that are important to them - including birthdays and anniversaries. (Heck, have Google send you daily web alerts on those names). You share with them information about mutual friends that not because you heard first but because you can't be certain they heard at all.

You manage these relationships like any other. Pay attention to them, periodically touch base (ctrl+shift+k), and give more than you receive.

You are not going to be a bother to them. You are not trying to be their friend. you are trying to be a caring associate. Those that treat you like some pesky college kid maybe ought not to be in your network after a couple of years....your call.

Our privilege.

Mark

regas14's picture

[quote="mahorstman"]
You can give your time to causes they care about. You can share what you're doing in your career - that might give them insights into what they're doing. You can pay attention to their industry and share with them what you learn and hear. Showing interest in what someone else does, and commenting is a form of a gift. It say, "I know what you do, and care about it." You remember important industry seasons, and respect their time then. You remember dates and people that are important to them - including birthdays and anniversaries. (Heck, have Google send you daily web alerts on those names). You share with them information about mutual friends that not because you heard first but because you can't be certain they heard at all.

Mark[/quote]

MBS,

I'm really glad you asked this question. I struggle with the same thing.

Mark,

Thank you for a great answer per usual! This has also been a struggle of mine.

G.R.