Think about the people you connect with daily- in meetings, sales calls or in the registration line at a conference or event. Almost everyone has the potential to be a contact. More importantly, the golden rule is: think of how you can be a resource for people and what you can learn and give, rather than looking at networking as getting something from others.
Get out your hoe and seed bag. Here are some tactics that will help you yield a bountiful harvest in the future:
Become aware of your environment. Learn by emulating successful connectors and relationship builders around you. Identify what they do that appeals to you.
Your environment also includes what you read. From now on, read the news with a “networking” eye, and listen to the news with a “networking” ear. When someone interests you, send a note that compliments him or her.You have nothing to lose and you might connect with them.
Be results-oriented and have a plan. Make networking a part of your daily routine. For example, if you’re off to an association meeting, set a goal to make two new contacts and then follow up with them. Following up is the most crucial part of the process. It separates the professionals from the amateurs. If you think it’s time-consuming to develop a relationship with the new people you meet, you’re right. You’ll never know in advance which connection will turn out to be productive unless you take the time and effort to find out.Make it a point to invest.
Find your approach. For example, with my business, I have an easy-to-read Nugget (that you are reading now) that I e-mail to clients, prospects, and friends. It is also sent to people I meet serendipitously. Take the initiative and be the one to make the first move. The person who hesitates is lost. Make it brief- and to the point.
Be a joiner and get involved. Sitting on the sidelines won’t get you noticed. Take action in your own style and what is comfortable for you. As a newly transplanted resident of Sarasota, Fla.I am doing the exact same thing that I am advising you. I've joined several organizations and am starting to get on committees and groups. It happens by asking and taking the initiative. Think about the organizations in which you can actively participate.
Perception is reality. People remember what they see and hear from you. Make a good first impression that never stops impressing others. Treat everyone you meet and with those you know well with special care and importance. Reintroduce yourself to those individuals who are still getting to know you, make it easy for them to remember you by again taking that action step.
Have measurable tactics. Every good strategy has specific action steps that can be monitored. For example, each week call, text or email three people you haven’t spoken to in 90 days. Keep a log of contacts along with the type of follow-up you used. Decide which approaches are working best for you. While you can scientifically measure results, remember that networking is an art form expressed and developed by you.