Keep your network active while expanding it

Keep your network active while expanding it

Fancy expanding your network, but fear losing contact with your existing connections? The former doesn’t necessarily imply the latter. Indeed, these two scenarios can even support each other. Let’s find out how through three simple techniques.   Match new contacts with old ones While getting to know a new person, try to identify commonalities they share with your existing contacts. “You are into X? Then you absolutely have to meet my contact Y!”. If you reckon that two people can benefit from meeting each other, connect them straight away! This is, à propos, one of the most effective ways to add value to your network, as well as my favourite one. And the broader the network, the more the matchmaking opportunities, the more exciting the exercise!   Host targeted gatherings You can’t constantly go for coffee with all your contacts, especially old ones (while we do recommend you follow up in person at least once with new connections). So gather old and new acquaintances and have them mingle! As Jayson Gaignard explains in “Mastermind Dinners: Build Lifelong Relationships by Connecting Experts, Influencers and Linchpins”, connecting people the right way is an art – also referred to as connectional intelligence by Erica Dhawan and Saj-Nicole A. Joni. We recommend two main constellations for bringing together your old and new connections: gatherings for people from similar industries, and get-togethers for folks with completely different backgrounds. The first ones allow for your guests to discover synergies, the latter involve weak ties, and thus facilitate innovation.   Earn introductions You have been practicing networking karma and thus got yourself the reputation of a value-adder: amazing! As...

The high art of the follow up

So you’ve met an amazing person at a networking event, or even just at the tram stop. You connected with them on a deep level in just a few minutes, and you even exchanged business cards. Yet it will all be wasted time if you don’t follow up. But it will also be a missed opportunity if you don’t keep in touch the right way. So let’s discover the high art of the follow up through three simple techniques.   Add value Don’t just reach out for the sake of it – by just writing, for instance, “Hey, how’s it going?”. This way, you are basically saying “I’m here: entertain me”. We don’t want to sound needy, nor do we want to be needy in the first place! We are people who can add value to other people’s lives. So send your new contact an article or a book they could be interested in, invite them to an event you’re attending, or, my favourite, introduce them to your network. For details about these techniques, see our article “4 ways to add value to your network”.   Meet up Staying in touch virtually is inevitable nowadays, but it’s not enough. I would even argue that remote communication should be banned as the only connection means if you and your contact live in the same town! Would you dare to even try to compare reading a plain three-line email to exploring someone’s facial expression, body language and use of space, while sipping on your cappuccino on a sunny square? And, networking wise, interacting offline is not only more enjoyable, but also more effective, as...
3 people you should have in your mid network

3 people you should have in your mid network

As sociologist Mark Granovetter discovered, it is the people with whom we are the least connected who offer us the most opportunities. In business, this translates directly into innovation. At the same time, as Jim Rohn theorised, “We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with”. These people are most definitely your family and closest friends, and belong to your so-called inner circle.   How about the people in between? Who should they be? Let’s explore a few of them.   Your mentor Nowadays, there exist numerous kinds of mentors, and even more reasons to have a mentor, but networking-wise the value of a mentor is mainly twofold. First, they have a whole different network of contacts and connections that you don’t. And secondly, they’ve been there and done that. You can learn from your mentor’s mistakes and avoid making them yourself, and thus save your reputation in your network – and, further down the line, theirs too.   Your mentee The fact you have a mentor doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be one yourself! Just make sure this person is a few steps after you on their path, so they can benefit from your experience. Even if not as broad and diversified as yours, your mentee has a network too, which gives you access to new opportunities (see the strengths of weak ties). And as the good connector you are, you will help your mentee expand their network, which will in turn feed your networking karma. Moreover, introducing your mentee to your contacts will help you increase the density of your own network, which should be one of the highest goals of every respectable connector....

3 time management ideas for offline networking

Little time, but don’t want to miss out on the amazing opportunities that offline networking offers? Here are three techniques for you to apply.   Combine gatherings Have three coffee invitations and just one hour to invest? Gather your three contacts around the same table. They don’t know each other? Even better! If they are as good networkers as you are, they will appreciate. Another scenario is you being invited to an event and your contact having time only that very evening. Bring them to the event with you! Just don’t forget to inform the host   Exploit known environments No time to attend networking events? Network in environments you frequent anyway: the supermarket, the tram stop, the gym, the café. These are places pretty much everyone goes to, so you’ll be able to find any kind of people there – including the ones you might share synergies with. And if you’re a good networker, you won’t be after too many commonalities anyway, as you find everyone interesting, and, as we stated in commandment 3, networking is simply your lifestyle.   Video call That one-hour live meeting would be decisive for your career, but it takes you thirty minutes to get into town and thirty to go back, and you only have one hour? Propose a video call. It’s not proper offline networking, I know, but it’s something between online and offline. Video and sound combined have an amazing power. And you can persuade your contact to have a further meeting by saying “Next time I’ll make it up for this last-minute change of plans, and coffee will be on me”.   Now get out (or on...
Keep this in mind while exchanging business cards

Keep this in mind while exchanging business cards

Not sure when exactly to exchange business cards or how to do it? Today’s article is for you! The right time Definitely towards the end of the interaction with your interlocutor. This signalises that you enjoyed the conversation and wish to stay in touch. Try to also express this explicitly, for instance by saying something like “I loved talking with you about reciprocity in networking. Let’s resume this chat in front of a cup of coffee soon! Do you have a business card?”. Your request for your interlocutor’s card as opposed to you offering yours indicates that you’re so thrilled about the encounter that you can’t wait to do the follow-up. This will be perceived as a compliment, and even greater rapport will be created. Which, in turn, will lead your new contact to ask for your card too. The right gestures Hand your business card straight, so your interlocutor doesn’t have to turn or flip it in order to be able to read it. Choose the side that represents you better. In my case, it’s the side with my one° logo, which I’m particularly proud of. If you wish to juice up the exchange, you can give your business card with two hands. This is what Asians do, but with a completely different tonality: for them, the exchange of business cards is a solemn act. And if you would like to apply some Western drinking culture to the interaction, look your interlocutor in the eyes, as if you were making a toast. This builds rapport too. The right thing to say Look at the card you’ve just received attentively, find a detail you enjoy and give a...