3 Ideas to Combine Online and Offline Networking

3 Ideas to Combine Online and Offline Networking

By Thomas Kupferschmied   Nowadays, most people interact with their contacts both online and offline. However, only few of them have reached a balance that grants effectiveness. As a social media influencer with an active offline presence, I believe I have learned how to combine both dimensions. Here are three ideas for you to achieve this too.   Make a plan In a world of infinite opportunities, networking needs a strategy too. The key for balancing online and offline networking is considering both dimensions while setting your goals and creating your action plan. Which are your target people? On which platforms can you find them online, and in which environments can you encounter them offline? By the way, a lot of communities live on both channels – Meetups, Tweetups, InterNations and numerous Facebook groups. Make sure you take advantage of these overlaps in your strategy.   Nurture the same relationship both online and offline As I always tell my clients, in order to raise awareness your brand needs to be communicated through at least five channels – for instance, website, social media, business card, talks and one-on-one consulting. Networking works similarly: if you manage to interact with a person both online and offline, your rapport will be stronger. Therefore, if you encounter someone at an event, follow up on social media. If you interact with somebody interesting online, meet up with them for coffee. If they don’t live in your town, have a Skype chat with them.   Use convergence Convergence means attending an offline event and posting live about it using hashtags. Tweetups are the perfect example, but you can practice convergence at any event you attend. Hashtags play a fundamental role in this phenomenon. Thanks to them, I met so many interesting people that...
Why business cards are more topical in 2016 than ever

Why business cards are more topical in 2016 than ever

“In this digital era, business cards are dead”, people tell me time and again. I respond “Business cards are more topical now than ever!”. And this for at least six reasons.   They make you stand out At events, on the street, most people are exchanging contact details digitally. If you extend a business card instead, you will surely stand out. And if your business card is actually of good quality, even better: it will be remembered, and maybe even stored after getting scanned.   They’re tangible The physical presence of a business card allows for you to actually take it into your hands, put it in your pocket and carry it home. This makes the rapport you built with your interlocutor last also after your interaction.   They work as a reminder How many times do we add people on social media still during our first meeting, they immediately accept our request and then after the interaction we forget each other forever? If you add your new contact after the event, thanks to the business card they gave you you will probably drop a follow-up line as well, which will increase chances to actually stay in touch.   They’re practical at events How many times do we miss out on potentially amazing contacts because the event was too crowded to properly exchange contact details? With business cards, all you have to do is hand it to your interlocutor, which takes about 1.849 seconds. By the way, with social phenomena such as Meetup, Tweetups and InterNations, events are definitely becoming more and more of a trend!   They represent your brand This one is especially valid for entrepreneurs. The design of your business card...
Add value to “boring” people to get rid of them

Add value to “boring” people to get rid of them

Are you one of those folks that just disappear if they want to dump a boring person at an event? There are more stylish ways of doing so. I personally enjoy conversing with pretty much everybody, as I reckon that no person on this earth is boring. However, I did develop my little techniques for situations in which I have talked to a person enough and am now ready to chat with other people. The common denominator of all of these strategies is: add value to your interlocutor.   Introduce them to someone else Look around: is there anyone you know? If yes, introduce this contact to the boring guy. If the two share synergies, even better! Make sure you follow our guide to offline introductions to create rapport between the parties. Once they start conversing, inform them discretely that you have to go see someone else. If you have done your connecting homework well, they won’t even notice your absence that much. You will have provided value to them, and at the same time you’ll be able to finally catch up with an existing contact or approach that person you’ve been wanting to talk to all evening.   Create a group However, sometimes the group you have just created is so interesting that you actually want to stay! Also, you can plan on building a group from the very beginning. In both cases, just make sure you introduce the two (or more) people following the above indications. Try to keep the conversation going about the synergies these people share, or about topics everyone in the group has something to...
The perfect offline introduction

The perfect offline introduction

Are names and job titles all you’re able to mention while introducing two people at an event? Being a connector is an amazingly powerful networking tool, which can deliver lasting results for everyone involved, but you have to master it to stand out. The good news is that you just need to bring to the table the following topics, in this very order.   1) ID Start with the classical identity card material – i.e. name and origin. “Guido, this is Karly from Sidney. Karly, this is Guido from Rome”. Just mentioning names can sound dry, while adding too much information in this first line can lead to a monologue. So just go for your contacts’ hometown: it’s short and sweet, but at the same time it will build up anticipation in your interlocutors.   2) Personal qualities After shaking hands and exchanging the classical “Nice to meet you”, your contacts will most probably not yet initiate a conversation, so just keep talking. Now it’s time to sell them to one another! Yet, I beg you, don’t identify them with their job. Focus rather on their personal qualities, ideally one that represents them and at the same time can generate interest in the interlocutor. For instance, knowing that Guido is new in town, you can go: “Guido, Sidney is one of the greatest networkers I know in Zurich!”. Not focusing on people’s profession exhibits two advantages: firstly, you are not stealing a topic they will probably touch anyway during their conversation; secondly, and most importantly: a job doesn’t make the person, their qualities do. In other words, Sidney might be the CEO of a certain company at the moment, but she might be out of work in a few weeks. Yet, she will possess those networking skills forever.   3) Their connection...

Roadmap to enjoyable conversations with “boring” people

The other day, we were saying that if you find somebody boring, it’s because you didn’t ask the right questions. Today, we are going to learn what kinds of questions you should ask, and in which order.   1) Ask general questions So first let’s get these “boring” people to talk at all! Start with closed-ended questions, which are easier to reply to. Something like “Is it your first time at this event?”. Then make your way to open-ended questions, such as “How did you hear about this event?”. Keep the topics general in this first phase: you will make it easier for shy and reserved people to break the ice.   2) Ask personal questions Now move to personal questions, but still keep them quite general. What I call “identity card questions” are ideal here: “What’s your name?”, “Where do you come from?”, “Have you been living here for a long time?”. The only taboo question: work. You are interested in the person, not in their career! By the way, have you ever noticed that the Anglo-Saxons always ask you about yourself, and at the same time are never too nosy? As a matter of fact, they are some of the best conversationalists in the world!   3) Find out their passions Now shift from the whats to the whys. “So why did you decide to move to this country?”. “What led you to pick up this hobby?”. People’s reasons are tightly correlated with their life values. Find out their passions, discover what moves them. Once their enthusiasm gets awakened, they won’t stop talking! Besides, they will also feel...