Whenever I give talks on networking, many agree: networking is helpful, networking is incredibly important for your career, and networking is not fun for most people. After all, so many mistakes can happen to you in the process, and then sometimes it feels so dirty too. Fortunately this does not have to be the case. But why should you network at all? Where do you find the right people? How to become more successful through networking?
For some time I was at different events 5-6 times a week, after all networking is my main focus. It quickly became obvious that most people do not know how to network successfully and make new contacts. So if you can master it, you have a huge advantage.
Can you learn to network?
Great networking is a skill, not a character trait. I wish I had read an article like this back in the day. Surprisingly, you don’t realize how bad you are or were at networking until you get more into it. Soft skills like networking can be learned as well as all other behaviors. At the end of the day, good networking consists of the capacity to overcome nervousness, have authentic interest in others and know the etiquette.
Whenever we change habits, it can feel strange at first. For example, once you consciously approach new people differently when networking, leave a conversation in a new way, or use other tips. Just like shifting gears in a car, it can be unusual or overwhelming at first. It seems "contrived" to you because you have to think about it. However, that fades as soon as it becomes a habit. In the ultimate guide to the topic Small Talk I describe the 4 steps of learning soft skills in more detail.
Can you network well as an introvert??
Introversion is often confused with shyness. But there are introverts who are incredibly confident and charismatic. Please what? Charlene Johnson is a perfect example. a speaker and genuinely self-confident. After just 2 hours of networking, it hits them like a sledgehammer – enough, I’m tired, I want to go home. From that moment on, they are a completely different person and just want to read a book and be alone.
Extroverts, on the other hand, get more energy when they are surrounded by people. They like large crowds, usually stay longer while networking, and feel chipper afterwards. For introverts, networking is a greater energy expenditure.
A large percentage of people characterize themselves as shy. Shyness comes from the belief that what we say and how we say it is not good enough. Schulz von Thun describes in his book series Talk to each other, That we chronically exaggerate how much others judge and value us.
If you’re an introvert, then big trade shows and conferences aren’t the ideal place for you to network. Prefer small, private events and don’t put pressure on yourself. It also helps to get out every once in a while and take regular breaks from networking. You can also ask more interesting questions during small talk and use your strengths of empathy and listening, which also conserve your energy.
What does networking do for me?
Network at work
"All things being equal, people will do business with and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust." – Bob Burg
One acquaintance can change everything: Suddenly that long-awaited promotion is right under your nose. Suddenly you have a brilliant idea that comes from a conversation. Suddenly wonderful opportunities open up to you that you never dreamed possible.
We prefer to do business with people we know, like and trust. What I find most amazing is that there is almost always a public price and then a completely different price for friends and acquaintances. Plus, we all know that a majority of jobs are taken before they’re even posted. Honestly, I’m sure a part of you realizes that networking can change your life in a very positive way and is real. Why else would you be reading this article?
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The 20-30 second rule
Some days you’ll find networking easier than others. This is perfectly normal, and just because you have a night where you don’t really get to talk to anyone doesn’t mean you can’t be a charismatic personality. Networking is a skill. It’s not about being the center of attention all the time. Be patient with yourself and you will have a great time.
Charlie Houpert, the author of Charisma on Command, says he uses the 20-30 second rule. When he’s not in the mood to be super social and friendly, he sits back and lets his arms hang down. He stops talking, smiles and just stands there without looking at his phone.
Often we are shy because we think that what we say is not important or we are not interesting enough. By doing this he gives himself full permission to be the most boring person in the whole room. Within 20-30 seconds, however, he bores himself so much that he is often self-motivated to talk to others again.
You have to have a network before you need it
"The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now." – Chinese proverb.
Networking is farming, not hunting. We can see networking as a great long-term investment. Of course, it will take some work in the beginning to make the initial contacts and maintain relationships. Nothing comes from nothing. . The good news is, if you do it right, it will probably be the best investment you ever make.
I often describe a network like a safety net or trampoline in a circus. When someone balances on a rope at dizzying heights, when would he put up the safety net? While he is falling or before he even goes up? As obvious as it sounds, it is not the norm. Some people still think that they start networking as soon as they get the job, stop advancing in their career or need certain contacts.
After a round of introductions at an event, someone approached me curiously. He asked me several questions about my work and said he thought coaching and training was great too. In the same breath, he asked me if he could have my job or if I could recommend in a company. Is it a good idea to ask others for jobs right away when networking – No.
If you think that networking is not that important for you right now, I can assure you: now is the right time.If he had built and invested in the relationship a few months ago, I would have gladly helped him find a job in the field. This brings us to the next point.
The best networkers are the greatest helpers
Networking means helping
"Building real relationships is about investing in them first, figuring out what they want and love, and then helping them get it – NOT instantly expecting a magical job offer. In fact, most of the "networking" you do will simply be helping people and getting nothing back in return." – Ramith Sethi, bestselling author "I will teach you to be rich"
Mario Paladini, Founder and CEO of Club GLOBALS Told me in our interview that the benefits of networking are intrinsic. Helping people gives you energy. It’s a win-win for everyone – almost like a drug. To be successful in networking, it’s important to have the attitude that you want to give something.
In contrast, most people have a taker mentality. People smell greed immediately, Mario describes. Relax. You just have to pay attention and find out what might help the other person. Give them your elevator pitch, find out where you have common ground and if you could cooperate, or help each other out. I always help first and only then I ask for a favor. Mario pauses and admits: It’s kind of a selfish thing. But that’s not a bad thing. You give something and you get it back in some way. Sometimes much more than you hope for. Not always, but very often.
Step 1: Help others in your network
Networking is just a matter of luck?
"Luck is preparation meeting opportunity" – Oprah Winfrey
Most people think to themselves what does that get me? Or wwhat can I get from this person? Few think what can I offer this person? How can I help her? TheHelper mentality will put your focus on the other person and thus you will be more confident and friendly. When you help others without directly asking for something in return, sometimes it feels like you are sowing a row of unknown plants. You don’t know if they will sprout, you don’t know what they will look like, but that’s the great thing about it. You may expect just a small flower, but it turns into a big, beautiful cherry tree.
At the end of the day, it’s a healthy give and take. Imagine a good friend gives you a wonderful gift and allows you two weeks dream vacation. How would you feel if he didn’t even allow you to bake a cake on his birthday?? We have an intrinsic motivation to give back – Robert B. Cialdini call it Reciprocity.
So relationships are never one-sided. Giving and receiving are two halves of the same coin. It is not helpful to take without giving. But conversely, it’s also destructive to always just give without giving others a chance to return the favor. The more you help others, the more you will build a long term relationship and get more support yourself.
If it is not too much trouble for you, choose people according to their character and help them. The question I ask every person I had a great conversation with and want to stay in touch: What would help you? Or how can I help you? The more you expand your network, the more likely you are to think of a way to do someone a favor. The emphasis is on doing. Promising a lot but not doing anything is pointless and destroys your reputation.
Step 2: Let your network help you
If I were to ask people in your network right now how they could help you – could they say really clearly what they could do? Most don’t know themselves what would help them. But how can others help you if you can’t put it into words yourself?? Unconsciously, we make it pretty hard for others to do us favors of their own accord.
One of my good friends came up to me and said: Marina, please tell me how I can help you. I am so grateful for your help, I just want to give back somehow. More than accomplished that on their own, by the way. Often people will not ask directly how they can help you.
The solution: Geoff Woods describes in his Mentee Podcast that when he introduces himself, he also mentions what would help him. And not in a pushy way – but just along the way. You can also do it during a normal conversation: Hey, I’m looking for opportunities to speak at conferences right now. If you happen to stumble upon an opportunity, just let me know, I’d be happy to hear about it. And after those words, you can just touch on the next topic.
You make it easy for others to give back to you without putting them in a bind where they feel guilty about doing something. Many will be motivated to do something good for you if you show yourself to be an attentive and helpful person.
Where can I network?
Jayson Gaignard, Founder of Mastermindtalk has a great saying: If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room. What events you go to should be completely determined by what people you’re looking for.
First of all, I want to make it clear that we are constantly networking. Every time you see new or old acquaintances or meet new people, you are networking without even realizing it. But great networkers do it consciously and get more opportunities and benefits through their network. Why do you want to go to the event at all? Ideally, what would be the result of the hours you put into this event??
Where can I network?
How to choose the right events for networking?
Be prepared to invest money for good networking
It doesn’t matter how much time you spend on events, but how qualitative they are. You will meet other people at event that are paid. Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to start with expensive conventions right away. Think of networking as an investment.
Don’t go for the lectures
The most important moments happen during coffee breaks or in the hallway while everyone else is listening to a speaker. Yes, I say that even though I lead workshops myself. Especially if the talk is not incredibly exclusive and interesting, rather use the time to talk to others. Most of the information you get nowadays anyway via YouTube and Google.
Plus points for rounds of introductions, breaks and short speeches
If there is a round of introductions at an event, take a note and pen with you. It’s amazing how many people sit there completely distracted at interview sessions. This is the best time to find out who you would like to talk to later on.
Also helpful are events with short keynote presentations. Because then there is an easy way to start conversations with people. Also, the topic of the impulse contract said something about the attendees and their interests.
Why 90% of people waste their time networking
An amazing number of my coaches say that while they have many conversations in an evening, the connection breaks after the first meeting. Business cards release an amazing amount of dopamine in some people. We can collect a bunch of business cards, but then we have only loose contacts that bring us absolutely nothing. The difference between a contact and a relationship is trust.
Shared tip with a journalist: Have a goal to find a person you want to stay in touch with long term. Focus on building the relationship strong enough to last past the first meeting. The journalist, let’s call him Tim, had thought of himself as a great networker by that point – after all, that’s partly his job. At the next meeting he told me – "I thought I would network less if I only looked for one person per event. But now I suddenly find a great new acquaintance every time, through whom new Possibilities yield!"
Instead of collecting a lot of business cards that end up in the drawer anyway, find one person at each event that you really want to stay in touch with. Spend enough time with that person for the relationship to outlast the first meeting.
Use your time wisely when networking
Let’s not waste our time waiting in lines at the buffet and waiting at the restrooms. As a basic rule, it pays to eat before an event and before networking, because the focus shouldn’t be chasing small nibbles. The smartest people act anti-cyclically. If there are snacks during the break, take a handful with you to the next talk instead of eating during the break. If you absolutely have to go to the bathroom, try to do it during the lecture, not while networking.
Strategic networking – how to make the right contacts
A participant at one of my workshops asked me: "If I have the goal of really getting to know only one person, does that mean I have to talk to the first person I meet for an hour?? No, of course not! On the contrary. To find someone who really suits you, you might have to talk to 10, 20 or even 30 people first who are nice enough but not that one person. That’s quite normal and will pay off as well. Now, how do we find the right person at an event? Here is an analogy to describe this.
Imagine you walk into a grocery store. What do you do first? You look around and decide which clothes you want to go to.You take your time, just like at an event. Stop and arrive first, look around calmly. Choose consciously which group you want to go to.
Now that you have a department picked out, you quickly look through the clothes and get a quick idea of what might fit. When networking, you create your first impression by briefly getting to know the people in a group and deciding who you’d like to talk to one-on-one.
If you like something, try it on. This means that if you are in a group and one of the people makes a great impression on you, you try to talk one-to-one with the person. This is often the easiest and most effective way to really get to know someone. Please keep your clothes on when networking ;).
Sovereign instead of hectic
Of course, we should not overdo it when networking. Hectically running around the room from one group to another makes a bad impression. Focused, not rushed, is the motto. A good friend, Jens, once told me. "At all the paid events I go to, many people have a mania for making lots of contacts quickly while networking. It’s hard not to get hectic yourself."
In the book The Charisma Myth, Olivia Fox describes this technique: "Imagine giving all the responsibility to a third party. What happens is all for a good reason and is not your full responsibility. The evening will go as it should and you will meet the right people. It is also helpful to look at networking like a game. You just see what happens and everything is feedback, no mistake.
Should I prepare for networking?
Prepare for networking
"Prior Proper Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance" – Keith Ferrazzi, author of "Never eat alone"
To find the right people, look at the guest list before the event and save photos on your phone. The room was full of people who were networking. I saw Mario standing at the bar looking at his cell phone. Cheekily I poked him in the side with my elbow. Hey you networking genius, put away your cell phone! He laughed and explained to me that he does this quite deliberately. I research the people on the guest list beforehand and save photos of people I want to meet to my phoney. How do I recognize them during the event.
Warming up to networking – not just for the shy
I was in Estonia for a conference and one of the most charismatic people there said to me, "When I walk into a room full of people and I have to network, I don’t know where to put myself. I feel like I need to warm up before I network with a lot of new people." It was amazing to hear this from someone who is often the life of the party.
Like a sprinter warms up beforehand, you can take it slow yourself at first. This is a great example of how it doesn’t matter if you feel confident and comfortable right away. In the beginning you can just talk to anyone. That means you can walk up to a familiar face, chat with the promoter or just have a superficial conversation at the bar – without pressure. It’s not about networking great right away, but getting into a social mood.
One of the advantages of this attitude is that you don’t give up easily. Have you ever had the experience where some things went wrong in the morning? I have often forgotten to put my cup under the coffee machine. On my return, I got to do morning exercise and clean everything up nicely again. This kind of thing can happen. But what is crucial is the question: does it ruin your day?? It’s easy to infer from one little situation that today just isn’t your day.
In the same way, one awkward conversation at the beginning of the evening can ruin everything. "Oh, this just isn’t the right event for me. I don’t get along with these people. Today I just don’t feel confident". All personifications and generalizations that our brain spins as soon as it has the slightest occasion to do so. If we expect the first conversations to be simply to warm up, then we avoid this dangerous conclusion.
3 easy ways to approach new people when networking
Personally, I just pick someone at the event and approach the person or group directly. This leaves most with a very confident impression, but it also takes a good amount of courage and fluent small talk. From now on, after interviewing Mario, I’ll consider three other options that are a bit more discreet and strategic, which I can also recommend to you.
Plan A: Have a friend introduce you while networking
As an example, you will find on the guest list an HR manager named Samuel, who already seemed very interesting on LinkedIn and whom you want to meet. Now you observe if someone you know talks to him.
"I don’t say "Hi" directly to the stranger I’m trying to get to know. Instead I say "hello" to my acquaintance standing next to him. Then my acquaintance introduces me. People simply respect you more that way." What’s the point? Keith Ferazzi, author of "Never eat alone," sums it up in his online course: this makes you pre-selected. If you have a mutual contact it builds trust faster.
Plan B: Ask the organizer or the sponsors
If none of your friends can introduce you in person or you don’t know anyone at the event, ask event organizers or sponsors. "As a host, my job is to introduce people to each other," reasons Mario. "Just tell me who you’d like to meet and I’ll be happy to introduce you to someone."
Plan C: Approach someone discreetly
If the other two plans are not possible, approach the person when he or she is standing at the bar or buffet. Then you can talk a little about the food and drinks and "Ah, by the way – my name is…". This is how you initiate a conversation that seems like a fluke.
What’s the point? If you walk across the room just to talk to the person, it can seem weird and put you in lower status. If you meet at the bar, the buffet or in front of a poster, then it seems to have been a coincidence and you see eye to eye. "After all, people want to spend their time with people on the same level." By the way, this is also an approach that ex-agent Leo Martin recommends. It’s best not to approach a single person head on, but from the side. This makes it seem not so planned. Early eye contact works more when flirting or walking up to a group. Oh – that’s the next topic already…
Confidently network with groups in 3 steps
"Impressive that you just go from group to group. You seem to really know a lot of people here" – said a woman to me.
"Not quite, except for 2 people, I didn’t know anyone here at the beginning of the evening- Simon and Alex."
"Ah what?", she said, amazed, "I would never have noticed."
One of my coachees described to me that he sometimes joins groups and then doesn’t say anything for quite a while because sometimes it doesn’t come up. After simply observing for a long time, he awkwardly leaves the conversation. Not a nice experience.
Going up to a group of complete strangers is something I would never have done in the past. The biggest obstacle was also technology, how to do this in the first place. For some, networking means always having an innovative, new saying on your lips. When I approach new group, it always looks quite similar in the first minute, because it just works. Depending on the situation I use a few variations, other jokes or questions but generally it is pretty consistent.
If I didn’t have this approach, which is tried and true and successful, it would take a lot of courage, willpower and maybe 2 glasses of wine for me to venture onto the shaky ice of small talk. So you don’t use up all your willpower, let alone become an alcoholic – here are 3 steps you can take to confidently approach a group.
Networks with open groups
An open group has a place for one more person. When two people are facing each other directly, they probably don’t like to be disturbed. However, if they stand in a V-shape and the upper bodies point slightly to a common, third point, then it is easy to join this group. A group of three would line up so that a fourth person would complete the constellation to form a square.
By the way, we can take this behavior to heart ourselves. If we want to keep the conversation private, we can put ourselves in front of the person. If that’s not the case, we can deliberately open up the conversation and make it easy for others to join in.
Approach the group consciously
Walk slowly towards the group and try to make eye contact with some of the group members. This feels a bit like describing the hunt of a tiger in a documentary film, but it works. Stalking makes sure people in the group are paying attention to you. What we do unconsciously when we see people we know or are friendly with is the "eye-brow flash". We raise our eyebrows briefly and smile at the same time. This gesture is made by Vanessa Van Edwards described as a helpful tool to make an immediate friendly impression, as it expresses: I have seen you and I recognize you.
Icebreaker for addressing
If the person in the group who is speaking stops and you have their attention, you can say the following:
"Oh excuse me, I didn’t mean to interrupt." – Shows that you are polite and respectful of the group.
"…you seem to be very sympathetic." – say optional only if it is true.
"…My name is …", shake hands with everyone.
and ask for example "What were you just talking about?" – this ensures that no one feels that you have just finished an exciting topic.
Other standard questions you can use are:
How do you know each other? (I want all the inside info)
Or how did you get here?
If the others continue to talk, then avoid for a long time the 5.to be the third wheel on the wagon. You can listen first and participate nonverbally by nodding or reacting with your facial expressions. Even small exclamations like "Aha, interesting. Mhm. Yes" can be appropriate. This will draw attention to yourself and it is likely that someone will ask you who you are.
If the group is in the middle of an interesting conversation that you can’t follow, you can interrupt someone’s conversation. You could mention some keywords from the last sentences: Wait a minute- vets, HTML codes and rubber – what exactly is this about?? On the one hand it shows that you are listening and on the other hand it explains why it is hard to follow the conversation ad hoc. Moreover, this often makes for a laugh.
Making the right contacts when networking
Sometimes it is advised to write down certain professions you are looking for. In some books about networking there are even whole lists, according to which you should judge your network. There you have to fill in if you are friends with a doctor, have a notary in your network and know a DJ. Whether this is so useful? I doubt it.
What people you need in your network is hard to generalize. For one person a lawyer would be important, for the next rather little.
In general, multipliers are by far the most valuable contacts, you can do. These are people who are networkers themselves and are happy to share their knowledge, resources and helpful contacts. Sometimes the person knows someone you want to meet and that’s half the battle.
Our network has to be diverse. Talking about it Alexander Wolf in his book on networking. So knowing one lawyer can be enough, but knowing five lawyers is pointless if you don’t work in the field.
We can only judge others by their influence on us. Daniel Goleman describes this in his book "Social Intelligence". Shared values and mutual support should therefore have the highest priority. Here is an example of that.
A new way of networking: Netfriending
Yesterday a workshop participant approached me after several months because we happened to be at the same event. She told me that the following concept helps her to be more confident and friendly when networking. Netfriending is what I call this authentic way of networking.
It’s about seeing the person’s character, values and potential. Netfriending is looking at a person as a whole, not just the opportunities or the benefits you can get from the relationship.
Netfriending is focused on building a long-term relationship and friendship. The guiding question is: "Do I want this kind of person in my life in 6 months??"
Netfriending is always based on the helper mentality. First we are useful for the other person before we get any benefit. It makes both sides feel comfortable and it’s fair. This is exactly what I do by creating the blog articles. The best part is that we approach people with a completely different mindset through these 3 points. You are suddenly not a supplicant, but someone who contributes and looks for ways to support others. It immediately makes you more confident because it’s not egolastic. Here is an example of what Netfriending can look like:
An example why netfriending is better networking
When I held a workshop about a year ago, I happened to meet Christoph beforehand. We got along great and told me that he had been taking a break from his job for about six months. That’s why he was just passing through Berlin. In a few days he would be back in Amsterdam. There was no clear way to "get something out of him". After all, that was not my goal at all. We shared a lot of interests and values and that’s why I decided to show him around Berlin and introduce him to some people.
After two weeks my phone rang: "Marina, I’m opening a startup school in Spain and I’m still looking for a trainer to give workshops. Everything is paid for, you get a 180 sq ft apartment and it’s right by the ocean. Do you have time in October?". II could not believe it. Dumbfounded, I blinked several times and stuttered a "yes". This would never have happened if I had only judged Christoph by what he could offer me at first sight. We never know who knows whom. If you use ethical, proper networking, you will also have these advantages. By the way, this is what it looked like there.
Successful networking through authenticity
In "Build to Last" describes Jim Collins, What distinguishes visionary companies from normal companies. One of his findings is that successful companies clearly portray their values. As a result, there are very few gray areas in companies like Nordstorm, IBM, and 3M à la: Yeah, it’s not really for me, but I’ll stick around here anyway because it’s comfortable.
In visionary companies you like it as an employee, you feel you belong and you are just right or you are out of it. Those who don’t fit properly are actively driven out of the culture. Less than absolutely satisfied and absolutely ambitious will not be accepted. Successful companies therefore discourage employees who don’t fit in very well. Conversely, they attract the very people who are truly passionate and associate themselves with the company.
You can relate this principle wonderfully to networking. If we now know that we attract people who are like us, then we can take advantage of this. What are three things that make you? Here is an example of how authenticity can be implemented:
The consequences of authenticity
I was sitting next to an entrepreneur at a dinner at Soho House Berlin, apparently every other person is a CEO in Berlin these days. Well, he talks like a waterfall and I listened, with some short comments. After approx. 30 minutes of talking he pauses. "Thanks for this great conversation Marina, this is really fun". I had to actively suppress my smirk, "I don’t think I’ve said more than 7 sentences.". This happens all the time when you listen to people properly.
"But now tell me about yourself", he says. Now it’s getting exciting. Instead of just going into business, I base my calling as a coach on my enjoyment of nonfiction books. I tell him about my crazy Paleo diet, fitness and big ambitions. Everything I never would have actively said a few months ago. He looks at me with eyebrows drawn together: I think you really need to take it down a notch. – Zack, a metaphorical board flies in my face.- Ouch. The conversation fizzles out.
For 1-2 minutes I deliberately poke at my salmon fillet until someone taps me on the shoulder. "Hi, Natalia my name – sorry, I overheard the conversation and wanted to tell you: from what I overheard, he is an idiot." We both laugh and Natalia tells me about all the things we have in common. A long, enthusiastic conversation is sparked and at the end I find out she is the CEO of your big tech company.
To find the 5% of people we really want in our lives, we have to be so authentic that we don’t attract the unwanted 95% in the first place.
How to attract the right contacts when networking
We automatically prefer to surround ourselves with people who are similar to us. Because of this, we will automatically attract the people who have similar values, ambitions and behaviors. Darren Hardy, publisher of "Success Magazine" describes a 2-step process.
An example of how you can attract the right people
For a good friend of mine, health is the highest priority and that’s why she wants to meet people who share this value when networking. That’s quite difficult because it’s more normal to ask We were at a catered seminar for 4 days and instead of eating the white buns, she had brought a cucumber and a steak. So she stood there taking bites from the giant pickle in one hand and the steak in the other. Of course everyone made comments and I myself had to laugh at the sight but had great respect for her integrity.
Those who also cared about her health complimented her for. Networking over the next 4 days became incredibly easy for them. Mainly because the right people came up to her on their own. She told me afterwards that she found out who she wanted to talk to more in the 4 days by looking at the responses.
3 basic rules to build your network
What is one of the most common lies in the world? Shortly after "I have read the terms and conditions ", Is it "Yes, let’s keep in touch". This is so incredibly vague that it can just go wrong. This used to be a personal weakness for me. After a while it was easy to make new contacts, but the real challenge came after the exchange of business cards. Because in the days and weeks that follow, it will become clear whether the evening really made a difference. Here are 3 tips to stay in touch with the right people.
You already know that really good networking is about class, not mass. That’s why I like to give others your business cards when they ask for them. But don’t ask for business cards if you’re not really interested in staying in touch, so you don’t get overwhelmed by the number of cards you receive.
Even before you leave the conversation, it must be clear whether you want to keep in touch with this person a lot or a little. At the end of the day, we only have 24 hours. Was the conversation o.k. and you would just like to have this person on your radar, then it’s perfectly legitimate to just send a request via XING and LinkedIn. Surprisingly many, feel obligated to email everyone after that. In the end it’s too much work and no email is written, important or not. Instead, more intensive communication channels such as e-mail or telephone should really only be kept free for the people with whom we still want to build the relationship.
Before we leave the conversation, it needs to be clear when we will next hear from each other. If you really want to build a better relationship with someone, then there must be a specific reason to write to the person. Simply following up will not do. You could, for example, make up to write if the advice the other person gave you really helped you. Even better is to make arrangements to Skype, call, or go to an event together right away. If the chemistry is very good, then of course you can arrange a coffee date right away.
3 Tips to make it easier to stay in touch with new acquaintances
Make notes on business cards
This technique was once used by a very tactful acquaintance of mine when we were laughing again about a common joke towards the end of a conversation. He took the pen out of his jacket pocket, grabbed my business card and said, "Wait, I need to make a quick note of this so I don’t forget it." Then wrote a keyword about it on my card. "Here’s how I make sure I definitely remember our great conversation." This makes a great impression, flatters the other person and then really helps you stay in touch.
Save the data right away
I maintain very few relationships through email only. Everyone I really want to stay in touch with I immediately save to WhatsApp because it’s more personal. Which for me is the most common medium to write and send voice messages to people. I recommend to ask if the other person agrees to it. The more personal medium is usually the better one. For purely business contacts, it is of course something else.
The 3 most important networking tips
If you could only implement 3 things from this huge article, please implement these 3 networking tips:
Use a personal CRM
LinkedIn or XING it not meant as an overview for contacts. WhatsApp and Facebook are also not the right place for this kind of thing. One tool, however, which costs at least 29 euros a month is Contactually. The simplest solution, which I use all the time, and also recommend to my coaching clients, is the free tool called Trello. Actually, it is intended as a tool for project management and group work. However, it can be used amazingly well to remind you who you could meet up with again and to show you who all is in your network, so you don’t forget anyone. Explaining it all is beyond the scope of this blog post.
You are interested in coaching? Then feel free to contact me for a free, no-obligation get-to-know-you phone call. Just click on the orange button: