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...
4 ways to add value to your network

4 ways to add value to your network

In our last article, we explained why we want to add value to our network. Today, we’ll find out how we can do so. Here are the four techniques I usually apply.   1) Connect your connections In your network, you surely have people that share commonalities and have the potential to create something together, but don’t know each other yet. As their one° of separation, you have the amazing power of connecting them! Best-case scenario, they will exploit their synergies and build something together. Worst-case scenario, they will have just expanded their networks, which is still not bad at all. In any case, you will have got yourself the reputation of a connector.   2) Provide relevant information  It could be an article, a website, a book. Nowadays, we are all overloaded with data, so make sure you send your contacts content they can really enjoy or benefit from. Also, keep your message short and simple. Something like “This video reminded me of what we were saying the other day about networking.”. This goal will also encourage you to read and explore more, which in turn will contribute to your general knowledge. Every now and then, try to provide exclusive news too, possibly coming from your very network: this will strengthen your reputation as a hub.   3) Extend invitations Invite your connections to events and gatherings – your own, but also third-party ones. You don’t have to attend the latter with them, but if you manage to, even better: this way, you’ll get to nurture the relationship in person, which is not only more enjoyable, but also more effective. So make sure you know what’s going on in your town and industry, but at the same time do invite your contacts to exclusive happenings too, which you will...

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,...