You introduce yourself, exchange business cards, promise to follow up, send an invitation to connect on LinkedIn—and that’s likely where your relationship with the person you met at that networking event ends. What if there was a way to make a more meaningful connection that yielded tangible results in your professional life?
There are. Simple changes in the way you network and the way you follow up can create better business results. Next time you’re swapping business cards, try these tips:
Another perk of focusing on creating meaningful connections, less stress. By aiming for quality, mutually beneficial relationships, you’ll feel less compelled to leave the room with a stack of business cards and more at ease to enjoy the moment.
- First and foremost, remember—and use—the person’s name. Dale Carnegie, author of How to Win Friends and Influence People, said, “A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” Plant the seed of admiration and respect from the beginning.
- Think in terms of quality instead of quantity. Your time is valuable (and so is theirs), so invest it wisely. A successful networking event is not measured by how many new LinkedIn connections you can generate. Instead, focus your attention on one or two key conversations.
- Approach each conversation with the goal of helping the other person. By thinking of their benefit before your own, you not only seem more genuine, but you can begin to build trust.
- Let them help you. People like to help others. It makes them feel empowered, valuable and most importantly, more likely to remember you. So think about how they can help you, and keep it simple.
- Don’t be afraid to ask! Do they know someone that they can introduce you to? Can you get value from their expertise?
- Follow up. This might be most important of all. A meaningful connection is one that leads to a relationship. So remember those interesting things that you learned about them, maybe interests or hobbies, and make that part of your email or phone call follow up.
READ RELATED: Crain’s Career Path: Pipeline Workspaces Co-Founder Philippe Houdard