Do you know one of those people who seems to be connected to everyone?
That person with an address book stuffed full of valuable contacts who always has someone they can count on to help them in any situation? People love and value connectors not only because they’re friendly and popular but because they help others find opportunities and introduce individuals who otherwise may never have met. They’re also the types of people that just seem to find it easy to meet and book new clients and get contracts.
want to be more like them?
You might think that these people were just born with the skills to make friends and influence people but trust me, it takes practice – follow our tips and you can learn how to be a super connector, too…
7 ways to become a super connector
This one is simple. You can’t make new contacts without getting out and about. Yes, social media helps you start conversations but you can’t strengthen and solidify these relationships until you actually meet people face-to-face.
Go to networking events, join clubs and organizations, and accept invitations to anything that sounds interesting. Just get out there!
try something new
You won’t meet new people if you just keep going to the same places. I go to tech events even though I’m The Simplifiers’ resident technophobe. And I sometimes attend events with much older and more successful serious business types. It means I meet different kinds of people. They’re usually interested in me because I’ve got something different to bring to the table and they like that I’m interested in what they can teach me. Being the odd one out in the room can be very useful…
get out of your comfort zone
Practice approaching and talking to complete strangers. Whether that’s at a networking event or in line at Starbucks.
If you’re friendly (not in a creepy way, mind you) 99.9 times out of 100, people will be happy that you started the conversation. Compliment someone on their shoes or ask them for directions or where they got their necklace from. If you’re really stuck, look out for someone who is on their own at an event. Go over and say hi and I guarantee they will be grateful that you came over and saved them from their lonely awkwardness.
do your research
Before an event, I like to look on twitter and see if anyone has tweeted about attending or used the relevant hashtag. This way, I can find out if there is anyone going who I think sounds interesting. I might even send them a tweet telling them to say hi in person.
I take this to another level. I use my ipad to see who is live tweeting at an event and use this as a way to get talking to people. True story: This is exactly how I met someone who I now collaborate with.
don’t network – connect!
Many people say that they hate networking. That’s probably because they view it as a cringe-worthy sales thing where everyone is just looking out for themselves. In many cases, this is true but if you change your mindset and start thinking about how you can help other people connect, you’ll start to notice how people react differently to you.
Be interested in people. Not just what they do, but how they do it and who they are beyond their job title. You might have no need for an employment lawyer but a client, colleague or someone you know (and want to impress) might.
Another true story: I met an employment lawyer at a very stuffy networking event. I was friendly but thought our paths would never need to cross again. Cut to 2 months later – she recognizes me at business event, introduces me to her boss and he is now one of my potential clients for social media training.
You never know where things will lead so talk to everyone and anyone!
Whenever you meet someone, always, ALWAYS follow up. Good connectors know that they need to build relationships so send a personalized email whenever you meet someone new. Your aim to turn yourself from that acquaintance to a solid contact. Bonus points if you send them a handwritten thank you note…people LOVE getting mail and will be touched that you took the time to write them.
keep the conversation going
I’m a big fan of sending out a tweet saying how great it was to meet @randomstranger. People like being mentioned on twitter and it opens up a casual conversation which allows you to build a relationship in a less formal and forced way than email. Don’t forget to share some of their posts and reply to their interesting tweets – remember, become a friend, not a leech!
Do you have any tips for starting conversations and connecting people? Try out some of our tips and let us know if they’ve helped you boost your network and book more clients!
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