It is not by chance that one of our oldest popular sayings refers to the network we have. “A man is known by the company he keeps” it is not just a folk wisdom, but also a warning when it comes to the business world. Knowing how to build professional relationships and mainly how to keep good contacts has been increasingly determinant for success. It is not only about doing your job, but it is necessary to count on a real action network where all the ends are well tied. This gives the professionals the certainty that they can count on the support on several fronts during their careers – from nominations to acquisition of new customers.

During two decades of business consulting I have learned to prioritize good contacts and maintain a clear and structured relationship with managers and companies that have gone through my history. Currently I have the privilege of being the contact point between several entrepreneurs from different lines of business, who rely on my experience to generate close relationship between areas that wish to strengthen.

However, building a strong network does not depend exclusively on having a powerful contact in your phone book. It goes far beyond that and one of the main characteristics of those who have the ability to manage the networking is the responsibility. You need to be aware of the right moment to engage a certain person, as well as when you are not willing to make a connection.

Another key issue in the business world is to understand and coldly analyze your role within a business relationship. Many people only access their network to ask for favor and so they end up on a corporate blacklist. Here is the tip: no one likes to be related to a professional with a selfish attitude and who does not want to share good times, but who only remembers the notorious agenda when they need something.

You should also understand that there are moments to let it go, there are contacts that are not worth your professional integrity. Be a listener before being a speaker. You must understand that not always joining a certain professional profile will be a sign of success. Ethics, integrity and positive feedback are powerful when evaluating new partnerships.

Share important information, support your network to strengthen business, interact even when it will not bring you any direct gain. Being successful when it comes to networking is about your ability to keep a strong network and, when necessary, be able to drive it for your career without fear, knowing that this practice will be well seen.

Roberto Vilela is an expert in management and business strategies. He performs with clients from medium to large companies throughout Brazil providing business advisory services, experiential learning, and speeches. He is also the author of the book Em Busca do Ritmo Perfeito, in which he draws parallels between the lessons he has experienced in the world of racing and the day-to-day in business.