Connections are exchanges of energy.
They form when two or more people experience a positive feeling through their interaction. I wish everyone could effortlessly make beautiful networking moments like these. However, I know that’s usually not the case. Many people feel uncomfortable when networking and even experience anxiety around it.
Here are eight methods of creating meaningful connections. I’ve used many of these techniques for years, without labeling them…they’re just part of who I am. When I’m working with my clients on their career transitions, we begin implementing these tactics into their networking plan, until they become habitual. What may feel awkward at first becomes a natural expression of your personal brand and how you show up in the world.
The benefits I’ve gotten from building connections over the years:
- The feeling of fulfillment and a spark of energy that fills me up. I am an extrovert, so I certainly crave human interactions.
- Job opportunities
- Referral sources
- New knowledge in the form of a tip, a resource, a website, a book, a podcast
- Motivation and inspiration
- An opportunity to bring others together—I’m a connector so I love making introductions for people when they are mutually beneficial
Eight Methods of Establishing Deep Connections when Networking:
- Be a ray of light that touches everyone you come into contact with. Stack your posture, smile, make eye contact, invite others into your conversation—no one likes feeling alone.
- Learn and use people’s first names.
- Ask an opening question that helps you understand where the person is coming from: for example, “What brings you here?”
- Jump into small talk.
- Tap into what can you offer them— add value with one of the 5 I’s:
- Make quality connections, don’t focus on quantity.
- Follow Up— decide how you intend to take your new friend through an evolving relationship experience with you. I recommend:
- LinkedIn Connection Request with a personalized note.
- Thank them for accepting their connection in the Messenger feature, and ask them for a phone call.
- Every month reach out to them with one of the “5 I’s”. Using LinkedIn is a great way to keep track of your interactions, or you can use a spreadsheet.
- Go deeper in your own style. You may want to text them or add them as a Facebook friend or invite them out for coffee or a lunch—it really is up to you.
- Drop all expectations about what you’re going to get out of the interaction. Enjoy “Career Karma.” Leave everyone with the impression of increase.
Where can you create these interactions?
- People you already know in your social circle.
- Other parents—playgroups, school yard, kids’ activities (See my blog post about networking with other parents)
- Friends of friends: ask for an intro.
- Fitness classes or anywhere you congregate regularly with others.
- Go deeper with a club you’re already in . . . like a mommy group. Invite people over to your home or plan a meet up.
- Set a big number target for one activity: for instance, attending 25 networking events in the course of 12 months. Or having lunch with one new person from your company every single week to find out more about what they do. When you attach a large number to an activity, it’s like setting up a guarantee that you’ll benefit, even if you don’t reach that ambitious goal.
If you want to develop your networking skills, please consider joining me at two upcoming events.
WeHav Networking Event:
This is the inaugural event of a new women’s organization in Toronto, called WeHav Co.I’m honoured to be the keynote speaker!
This event will help you understand the value of your current network plus how to grow it strategically. You’ll also learn how to tap into networking as a rich resource in a genuine, generous way. Watch as you begin to attract more opportunities, support, and professional growth.
The day will include a facilitated networking session and an empowerment panel of professional women answering your questions about personal branding, confidence, and overcoming obstacles.
Sunday, March 3, 2019 from 2 p.m. – 5 p.m., Etobicoke, $25 – tickets at Eventbrite
Extend & Elevate Connection Day
Julie and I are collaborating with Nadine Moffatt of Becoming Still to present our Extend & Elevate weekend events as a one-day experience. This will be a more casual opportunity to connect to yourself and others through movement, meditation, personal growth workshops, laughter, and good, raw fun.
Saturday, May 11, 2019 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., East Toronto (Topham Park). Tickets will be available soon, so save the date!