Networking with empathy: what is it, how, and why to build it
How to build your network of contacts, and what networking is with empathy. But first, subscribe to our Telegram channel. We often publish such valuable articles!
Indeed, among your acquaintances, there is one who always has the right person who knows how to solve your problem. And every time you are surprised: “Does he have such a contact in his notebook?” From the best doctors to car mechanics, from a stylist to a top manager of a large corporation.
“Connections are everything” is his life motto. He makes acquaintances easily and remembers his acquaintances’ birthdays. He solves all issues quickly. Sometimes he needs to make one call to the right person. Want to know how he does it?
Let’s figure it out.
The perfect place to meet new people
Where should you meet?
Correct answer: wherever possible. You narrow your network of acquaintances very much if you communicate within the working framework and make acquaintances only at business conferences.
An airport waiting room, walking with children at playgrounds, a queue at a cinema, a party with friends, a cafe in your business center or an art exhibition — in places that are not related to work, it is often much easier to get to know each other. You have to be creative and not passive.
Move the conversation from general to the specific
What to say?
For many, this question is complicated. Because it seems that all topics are banal, but you don’t want to be intrusive. Cast aside doubts and boldly go to get acquainted. A simple “Let’s exchange business cards” often works better than many walking around the bush, choosing suitable topics for conversation.
How else can you start a conversation? First, discuss your surroundings: where you are, the event and its organization, performances, menus, and even the weather. Then try to move from the topic you are discussing to the topics of the next level.
They should be closer to the personal interests of your interlocutor. Otherwise, the topic will dry up. There will be nothing to talk about because it is boring to talk about the general and lengthy for a long time. For example: “This speaker inspires me just like the author of that book. Have you read it?”. And the conversation moves on.
The main thing here is not to go to two extremes: interrogation and monologue. Of course, too personal topics should not be raised. It would be best if you got a dialogue, the purpose of which is to learn a little more about the interlocutor by his name and position. Try to talk about hobbies, places you’ve been to, favorite books or movies, and find possible mutual acquaintances.
If the conversation is casual, you can immediately ask the interlocutor to help you find their profile on LinkedIn or Facebook and add them to your contacts. It’s also a great way to keep in touch if you don’t have business cards.
Remind yourself immediately after meeting
What to do after the meeting?
You remembered yourself, and consolidating your acquaintance in the first few days after communication is advisable. The standard way is the classic reminder letter, which is usually sent after business meetings. In it, it is essential to briefly, but succinctly, in a few phrases, recall how you can be helpful to the interlocutor. It is also worth adding a short presentation of your activity or company.
An excellent way to leave a good impression of yourself is to send a new acquaintance something interesting to him personally, which you talked about at the meeting. A link to a book that interested him, a video of the speaker’s speech who was cited as an example, an article, a contact he needs, or a hotel recommendation for a vacation.
You are building a new bridge in your relationship by tying the knot of contact a little more firmly. If the meeting was not in a business setting, you could remind yourself by adding a person as a friend on Facebook and writing a short message with the same essence, but not in a business format.
Maintain and strengthen newly created connections
What to do with all the accumulated contacts?
Firstly, business cards can be grouped by areas of activity, events they met, professions, or hobbies. It will help you quickly find the right contact or understand who from your social circle should be introduced to each other if they have common interests.
Secondly, you need to develop your network of acquaintances. Otherwise, even the most significant number of business cards will become a dead weight. What matters is not who you know but who knows you. How to develop? Strengthen weak ties and maintain strong ones. With the advent of social networks, these tasks are greatly simplified.
For weak ties, you need to write posts regularly, like and comment on your friends’ posts, follow notifications about important dates in a person’s life and respond to them. Do not be lazy to wish happy birthday, change jobs,s or move. You can also invite your friends to events of interest and involve them in joint projects.
Regular face-to-face meetings or calls strengthen strong ties, offers of help, and requests for expert advice, after which you remember to thank your friends. Book exchanges, shared projects, and travel also brings people together. Be sincerely interested in the life and events of your friends, make friends, and do not seek benefits from acquaintances.
Remember the environmental friendliness of relationships and the win-win rule (help you, help you too). Introduce your friends to each other based on their goals and interests. You to benefit from this.
All this is good, but how do we manage to do everything in our time? There is not enough time for yourself, and even more so for friends. I will share with you a few tricks that help make all of the above more accessible and faster, as our fast pace of life requires.
Life hacks for effective networking
Activities, meetings, friends. Are there two similar tasks? Unite. Do a few girlfriends like concerts at the Philharmonic? Take them all with you, and introduce them there. Two new friends are thinking about a startup idea. Introduce them. One head it’s good, but two better.
2. Use messengers
It’s free, efficient, and convenient. There is not always time for calls; besides, they annoy many. And you can make a general chat and agree on a trip to the park with several friends at once in five minutes. Just don’t confuse the general chat with chat groups of 20+ people that turn into spam.
3. Attend conferences at lunchtime
Come closer to lunch if you do not have time to attend the conference for the whole day. So you can grab a piece of content and then discuss it with new acquaintances at lunchtime. Do not forget that the purpose of business meetings is communication. And lunch is the perfect time for that.
4. Don’t go to conferences with a colleague or friend
More precisely, to communicate with a colleague or friend. Use events as intended. It isn't very reasonable to go to a place where you can make new contacts and spend this time talking with someone you already know. To do this, you can go with him to a cafe on another day. Separate, and after the event, exchange collected business cards. So each of you will be able to get more new contacts.
5. Ask you to introduce
Psychologically, the person being introduced is perceived better than just someone coming up from the street. If there is a friend of yours at the event who knows many people present, ask him to introduce you to those you find difficult to approach on your own. The same technique works when you’ve just met someone and, after a short conversation, ask to be introduced to a group of his colleagues.
Necessary: respect other people’s time. If you ask for referrals in writing (by email or text), you must write a fully prepared short text about yourself, your product, or your service. The person recommending you should only copy the text, send it, and spend only a minute of their time.
6. Get to know more online
Don’t limit dating to just offline. View lists of mutual acquaintances and friends of friends on social networks, review photos published after events with tags, and add new friends to yourself. Find engaging specialists, article authors, social activists, and artists from exhibitions and make new friends.
Three simple rules of networking
1. Be genuinely interested
Find what you are interested in in a person: shared values, areas of interest, hobbies, and joint initiatives. And don’t talk if you don’t. Strenuous communication usually does not bring anything good.
2. Ask for help directly
You should not expect to be offered help and recognize your hints. Be ready to help yourself.
3. Think about how you can be useful
Make friends, don’t look for profit.
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