When I ask people how they feel about networking, typically they have a negative response. The majority of people say it makes them feel uncomfortable and awkward. Another problem is that they leave a networking event with 15 business cards and don’t know what to do with them. Here’s some advice to ease the anxiety about networking. I usually ask questions that center around these categorizes: interests, desires/goals, and needs. This makes it easier to break the ice because people enjoy talking about topics they’re interested in discussing.
Interests: In the last post, I discussed asking people about something they’re currently working on that they’re passionate about instead of asking what they do. Some other questions you could ask are, what causes/charities are you interested in? What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Desires/Goals: What are some career goals you would like to accomplish? If you’re attending a conference, what are you hoping to gain from attending this conference?
Needs: What challenge is your top priority to get resolved in your business/career? What brought you to this event?
When you exchange business cards, if there isn’t a picture of the person on the card, on the back write down a brief description of their appearance. Also, write down one interesting they said during the conversation and a possible common interest. This will help you to determine which people that it could be beneficial to follow up with after the event and remember what was said during the conversation. Before you call them, make sure to look them up on Linkedin to discern if there are some other ways you can bring value to each others careers.
I’m passionate about connecting people with the organization, person or opportunity to better their life in any area, being purposeful putting people together in the area they need. So in order to do this, I need to find points of connection.
I’ve described in previous posts about the people you’re the closest to, your core connections (people you relate with on a deeper level on distinct elements of compatibility). When explaining to people elements of compatibility, a way to simplify it is to say points of connection. Points of connection are areas you have in common with others, the more you have in common especially on what’s most important to you, the likelihood increases of finding a core connection.
For example, people that I’m moderately close with I may share two points of connection, we both belong to the same organization and we live in the same neighborhood. On the other hand, my best friend and I share at least a dozen points of connection and that’s why she’s a core connection. I usually advise people when going to a networking event not to focus on finding people they share many points of connection with but people that have points of connection in the areas that they’re most passionate about. If you can connect with people that are just as passionate about a particular cause as you, then it’s easier to work together to accomplish great things.
I recently did this in the networking group I attend, I Know Somebody Houston. As I talked to different people in the room, I found Vernetta Freeney. She owns a company called Women are Gamechangers where she helps women that may be intimidated to network find mentors or like-minded women that can help them grow their business. During my conversation with her, I geared my questions towards her philosophy on networking to see if we were compatible and her level of passion about networking. We both saw the point of connection and decided to help each other by promoting our services during a Twitter Chat this coming Monday, July 7th at 7:00 pm. Please join us to ask your questions about how to find the connections you need to go to the next level in any area of your life.
Have you ever wondered why you were once close with certain people that you went to school with or you lived close to then once you graduated or moved away you were no longer close with these people? The reason is because your closeness was based on proximity and once that was removed there was nothing keeping you connected. Then there are people that no matter how far apart you are from them, you maintain a close relationship. These people are your closest relationships because you relate with them on a deeper level, on distinct elements of compatibility. They are your core connections and the support system you need to help you to achieve your goals.
You don’t come across core connections everyday. So how do you improve your probability of developing core connections? It’s not as complicated as you might think, you need to identify the things you’re passionate about at your core. Once you’re putting yourself in environments that relate to your core, you’re already around people that you share an element of compatibility with so the likelihood of cultivating core connections increases. A significant benefit of purposely developing core connections with people in a specific area where you are pursuing a goal is that you can create a “Dream Team” that can work together to help each other reach goals.
When I’ve had to relocate this technique has worked for me. I’ve gotten involved in activities that energized me and I naturally gravitated towards certain people that have supported my efforts and have helped me become successful. You can only be close with a limited amount of people without spreading yourself thin so at any given time you should aim to have three core connections in your local area. Core connections can empower you to go to a higher level in your life, and as I’ve shared earlier, it’s been shown that meaningful connections, people you know on deeper level, boost your emotional health and well being.