But maintaining your network is much more than gathering acquaintances. Godfrey says what people in your network think of you is just as important as growing the network itself. Your associates have to see you as a talented professional with something to offer an organization, someone who is known in the marketplace as reliable and trustworthy, with good ideas.
He says professionals begin to develop that type of reputation in how you treat all coworkers, how you demonstrate your talents, and how you communicate your successes. “Every conversation is an opportunity to sell yourself,” Godfrey says. “Once you come through the door it is important that you’re selling yourself to everyone – from the CEO on down to the receptionist– it all counts. Make a memorable impression.”
He has realized that developing a broad range of relationships in business does require some dexterity. “Negotiation skills are essential,” says Godfrey. In a business where he has to constantly build partnerships for the company, Godfrey has learned to make sure all involved parties are happy. “Forming strong partnerships where all the partners benefit is really the task that [creates] lasting relationships,” Godfrey says.
He has also learned the value in broadening your professional experiences. He believes staying in the same position or company for too long can limit your experience, skill and network development. “A variety of experiences is something that every young professional has to take a look at. I’m not sure if I did that as well as I could have.”