Planning to build relationships and maintain them is something that should be ongoing through your working career (and as I approach retirement, I would suggest in your personal life as well!)
"Life happens" I say, and it's in times of need that the relationships you build are the ones that are there for you when most needed.
I think my colleagues would agree that although I may not see them regularly, I try to at least maintain an element of contact. I think it's important to let people know that you value the relationship you have built with them and even if it's only one of friendship, it's a part of the unwritten rules.
So if you haven't caught up with someone you feel valuable in your network, then it's time to:
· Write in your diary when networking events are occurring that they may be at and try to attend.
· Make a list of people to speak to.
· List those you may not have been able to catch up with and directly target a conversation with them through a direct invitation for coffee or to catch up at the next meeting.
What activity you decide upon, it should always be completed with a professional approach, being mindful that you are representing both your organisation and your team.
You are the actual face of the organisation and your conduct needs to make an impression. The information you choose to discuss should be kept on a professional level at all times and your communication should be clear and concise, regardless of being "just a friend"or a formal network.