International offline networking from your hometown

Fancy travelling the world, but scarce time and finances don’t make it easy? You don’t have to leave your town to get to know new cultures. Not if you connect with these three categories of people.   Expats They come from all over the world, but moved to your town for work. If they are not your coworkers, you can meet them by joining associations such as InterNations, GLocals and Meetup. Some of these groups only exist locally, like ZuriGo, an expat community I host events for in Zurich. As a good super-connector, you can also start your own expat club, dedicated for instance to a specific country or language, or to a specific hobby or business theme.   Frequent travellers based in your town They come from or are based where you also live, but are often out of town. Usually, they travel during the weekend or for entire weeks if it’s for leisure, and during the week if it’s business. This latter category is mainly represented by business developers, publicists, consultants and professionals operating at exhibitions and conferences, such as speakers, interpreters and scientists. These people are constantly exposed to new places and cultures, and every trip is a new story they can tell you. Also, if you fancy a certain item from a country they will visit soon, you can ask them for a little favour. Don’t forget reciprocity though!   Travellers currently in your town They can be people on a business trip, or simply tourists. You can meet them in cafés of hotels, stations and airports. You might never see them again offline, but you can develop an online friendship if you managed to deeply connect during the short time you spent together....

7 benefits of connecting people

Do you know the difference between being a networker and a connector? A connector operates on a much higher level. If I am a networker, I know this person, this person and this person, and I’m happy with it – I know people, wow! If I am a connector, I know that this person and this person have something in common, I reckon that they can benefit from meeting each other, and therefore I connect them. Being a connector offers numerous benefits. At least seven.   Adding value It may not seem like a big deal to you, because you know these people anyway, but if they have potential together and don’t know each other yet, you will give them a wonderful gift by connecting them. Amazing things can happen through a simple connection, and this way you can really add decisive value to people’s lives.   Gratitude Not only will you have added value to these people’s lives, but they will also be grateful to you. Which, let’s admit it, is a gorgeous feeling!   Networking karma Most of the times, gratitude translates into karma, which means that the people you matched will want to reciprocate the favour. Pretty often, people will return the kind of value they received. Therefore, if you provided them with a connection, they will probably give back by connecting you with an acquaintance of theirs. This way, you will have expanded your network by expanding somebody else’s.   Status At the same time, you will gain status between the people you brought together, as they will always remember you as the person who made their connection possible. Also, when someone asks them “So, how did you guys meet?”...

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...

On Reciprocity, Networking Karma and Universal Compassion

When I give talks about networking, I usually start with the concept of reciprocity. Reciprocity means “give and take”. In other words, how can we expect something if we’re not willing to give it? Therefore, we should give first and expect second.   This is what most networking theorists claim.   Yet you can go a step further and say that your shouldn’t even expect from the specific people you made a favour to. Just give in general, and something will come back. Perhaps not from those very people, but from your network. Call it networking karma.   This is what the almost complete rest of networking theorists will tell you.   What almost nobody will tell you is that you shouldn’t expect at all. That you should give regardless of what comes back. “Why should I do so?!”, you’ll go. “Because you genuinely like people”, I’ll answer.   There are two main reasons why should like people. The first one is that every person is interesting. If you think a certain person is boring, it’s because you didn’t ask them the right questions. Each and every person is unique, and can teach you something. And you can add value to each and every person’s life.   The second reason you should like people is that, at the end of the day, we are all human, and we are all just trying to get by. Call it universal compassion.   “Man is by nature a social animal; an individual who is unsocial naturally and not accidentally is either beneath our notice or more than human. Society is something that precedes the individual.” – Aristotle   Before they come see me,...