Join Africa's fastest growing career community!


Professional Networking: Turning Your Contacts into Meaningful Professional Relationships

Professional networking entails making use of personal, professional, academic, or family contacts in order to get ahead in your career and achieve your career goals. Read on and find out how you can build a resourceful network.

Article Preview Image

Professional networking entails making use of personal, professional, academic, or family contacts in order to get ahead in your career and achieve your career goals. Read on and find out how you can build a resourceful network.


If there is a piece of advice you should ingrain into your memory is that you can't get anywhere in life without people. People are at the heart of anything you aspire to do. That company you want to work for. That promotion you've been eyeing. Or that client you've been meaning to close. If you fully pull the blinds aside, you'll find people behind each and every one of them. And that is where professional networking comes in.

Having a good professional network will help you learn more about your industry or another field you'd like to work in. More so, you get to share information on challenges and experiences that end up giving you fresh insights that you might have otherwise not considered. And the good news is, every day is a new day to meet someone new.

But the big question is, how can you capitalize that? In other words, how can you turn a contact you met at a conference, family event, art parlour, cultural event, charity, or even on Twitter into a meaningful professional relationship?

For many people, this question has been a tough nut to crack. However, reading this article will show you where the rubber meets the road. Want to improve your professional networking skills? Follow these tips and turn your contacts into meaningful relationships:


1. Be authentic when networking

It is normal to want to be the best version of yourself in a first meeting. The more authentic you are, the more memorable encounters you will have, enabling you to gain tremendous respect from your newly found contacts. 

So, how can you be genuinely authentic at the first encounter with your prospective network? Easy! You can do simple acts like;


  • Smile while having a conversation- a genuine smile will ease you and your newly found contact.

  • Maintain clear eye contact

  • Communicate clearly and eloquently

  • Keep your body language positive

  • If you have an idea of the kind of people you are going to meet, it is best to do research before attending the event.

Remember, people are looking to create and maintain professional relationships with genuine and straightforward people. If job opportunities come up, you will always come to mind first, and your networks will refer you. 


2. Follow up and show interest

Events offer the best opportunity for professional networking, most people get the chance to meet and connect with new people. High chances are that one or two individuals you meet may have a striking personality that you find interesting and worth knowing. If that happens, don’t let the opportunity to make a meaningful professional network pass you by. Ensure you follow up if you feel you want to drive the conversation further.

However, it would be best to ask what your newly met contact prefers to have as a mode of communication. Is it on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter or more formal approaches like emails and calls? 

By using their preferred mode of communication to follow up, you can rest assured you will get a response. Contacting them against their preferred mode of communication may feel like an invasion of privacy, leading to a quick end of a professional relationship that was already beginning to blossom. 


3. Nurture your professional network

If you are looking to solidify your relationship with your network, you must understand that it will take time. People need to know you better - this includes your interests, personality, ethics, and what you stand for so they can eventually trust you. Wondering how best to do that? Here are a few notes you can jot down:


  • Market your personal brand

  • Give back - show the value you intend to give to your network. It should not feel like you are the only one seeking to gain from the relationship. 

  • Focus on quality - Your focus should be on getting a few authentic connections that you are certain will offer productivity.

  • Manage and market your brand - Look to come out as an expert or thought leader in your industry to stand out. 

Nurturing your network is a process that will rip you both time and energy, but will be worth the investment. While there is no clear timeline as to when you will begin to see results, it’s a great chance to pave the way for your career to keep thriving.


4. Show your gratitude

As earlier mentioned, during professional networking events, people share ideas, experiences, insights, and so forth. A good way to turn any network into a professional relationship is by showing gratitude for connecting. One way of doing that is by using the nuggets you acquired during your meet and implementing them in your daily routine. If they are impactful, you can use that chance to highlight the specific advice you were given, how you implemented it, and finish off with how it made a change in your life.

A good example would be, ‘Hi, thank you so much for helping me find a solution to my issue (state the issue or how their advice helped) when we last met. It has gone a long way in helping me deliver greatly in my role (state which role). Let’s keep in touch!’

If you are brazen enough, you can be more creative and request to meet for a cup of coffee to show your appreciation. This is a great way to further professional conversations that help you know each other better. However, be sure to set the tone on a friendly and professional note. That way you will build an excellent foundation for a professional relationship that will continue to bud. 

Showing gratitude gives your connection the impression that they play a great role in your life and will think of you when better opportunities arise. Sounds good, right?



Professional networking is a great approach to finding out about job openings or breaking into a firm that you would like to work for in the future. However, your network consists of people from diverse backgrounds, cultures, career paths, etc. Some will share your goals, while others will have different views and takes. Your job is to talk to them, be present and show the need to want a deeper, productive relationship. The more consistent you are, the greater the possibility of creating meaningful professional networking relationships. 


You'll also like: 10 icebreaker questions you can ask during networking to avoid uncomfortable small talk

Written by

Bret Leon Asugo

Bret Leon Asugo is a creative content writer with industry expertise in ghostwriting, copywriting, guest posting, and corporate blogging. He works closely with B2B and B2C businesses providing content that is optimized for search engine rankings and gains social media traction. A writer by day and reader by night, he believes that everything has been said. But nobody has said it with your voice.

Give a like!


Sign in to read comments and engage with the Fuzu community.

Login or Create a Free Account