People are central to our careers.

Everyday, we’re having introductory calls and coffee chats, we’re meeting people via email, social media, and friends. Many of these conversations go well. We establish synergy. We offer value. We ask for help.

But sometimes, when we take a step back, we realize – whoa – the number of people I have been meeting and forming relationships with with truthfully exceeds the number of relationships I can devote time and energy to.

Think about it: Your first conversation with someone goes one of two ways. Either you hit it off with your new connection and stay in touch, or you lose contact and don’t speak again.

Managing a relationship requires that we continue to foster the connection long after we first meet, and doing this at scale is difficult.

So, how the heck do we do it at scale?

I asked the Next Gen Community how they manage their relationships because they all have so many connections and seem to manage and foster each friendship and connection quite well. Here’s what they shared.

“I try to be around for big parts of their lives- the good and the bad. And I check in randomly with people to see how they’re doing, and if they’re near, ask them to grab a bite or a drink.” –Esra Ozturk

I love this two pronged approach – when you see a connection or a friend struggling or succeeding via social media or your channels, be there for them! And, checking in randomly with people seems easy enough.

“I take a lot of my business practices and incorporate them into my relationships. My CRM is full of birthdays, people’s activities, times to set calls…all that good stuff. Sometimes the biggest impact you can make on someone is just remembering how hard they’re working. People can’t receive that kind of affirmation enough.” – Kyle Herron

Kyle is one of the best relationship managers I know. The idea of having a CRM to manage relationships is great – people always remember that you remembered their birthday, and I love it when I get the occasional check in from someone. We all love feeling remembered!

In fact, there are more tools for this than just your own CRM. Phillip Hedayatnia recommended his friend Brandon Wang‘s app Conduit — a relationship management tool that he checks daily. I’m currently on the waitlist for it, so I’ll report back when I try it out!

“Something I like to do is block off a chunk of time in my schedule every week to actively reach out to my contacts and ensure I keep the flame ablaze, no matter the technique. Especially if I go to a new city on business, I make time for lunches or meetings with my contacts abroad. It sounds trivial, but I if I do not make the time to ensure outreach, I will surely get bogged down with something else.”- Joshua Douglas

Holding yourself accountable by setting aside time committed to connecting with your contacts is an amazing idea. Josh just moved to Shanghai, so I know he’s putting this advice to the test and is speaking from experience! Make relationship management a priority.

Adam Lofquist astutely shared, “Relationships do not just happen, they need to be created and nurtured….If I find someone that I connect with I always make an effort to stay in contact with them and if I see an article or book that I think they may like I send it their way.”

Sending along something and saying, “This made me think of you” goes a long way. I’ve received emails from contacts with links to articles on women in venture capital or my other areas of passion, and it always is impressionable that they thought of me.

And, for another point of view by Elliot Roth: “There’s a psychological limit to the number of social connections we can maintain (150) which is why I find it more important to deepen connections to my most immediate circle, then reach out to people as circumstances dictate.”

Whether its 150 or 1500, these tips have helped me plot ways I can better manage my relationships to make sure I’m always there for my contacts and can continue to offer value. A big thank you to the Next Gen community for sharing their sage advice!

Want more relationships to manage? 😉 Connect with the Next Gen Community! We have over 3,500 members who come from a range of industries, backgrounds, and experiences. Request to join here.


  • Haley Hoffman Smith

    Speaker & Author of Her Big Idea

    Haley Hoffman Smith is the author of Her Big Idea, a book on ideation and women's empowerment which debuted as a Top 3 Bestseller. She has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur, and the Washington Examiner, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Brown in May 2018. She is the founder of the Her Big Idea Fund in partnership with Brown's Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship, which awards grants to women who apply with BIG ideas, and Her Big Lash, a cosmetics company.

    At Brown, she was the President of Women’s Entrepreneurship and started the first-ever women’s entrepreneurship incubator. She speaks on topics such as women's empowerment, innovation, social impact, and personal branding regularly across companies and college campuses, most recently at Harvard, TEDx, SoGal Ventures, University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, and more.