In our daily lives, our journey takes us through many formal meetings and many spur of the moment meetings. How many people do you meet each day? I suspect if you count up, there are many more than you think.
In a blog post about how to get quality referrals and valuable introductions, I read that the more people you connect to each other, the more likely your contacts will think of introducing you to someone who could help your career.
For each person you shake hands with, consider how you can help advance their career goals or business. As you open the conversation, ask some personal questions before you get down to business.
You may discover that you share a similar hobby or have recently been on vacation to the same city or country. There is your opportunity to expand your rapport.
With the advent of social media, making deeper connections with a variety of people is much easier. Search their Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter profiles for useful snippets of information that will enhance your dialogue.
You’ll be surprised how an informal conversation about personal interests can swiftly turn to a formal conversation with the hopeful outcome being an interview at one of your targeted employers of choice, as outlined in your career plan.
In Chapter Two of his book The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell names three personality types and explains their unique ways of being “agents of change” in the world. One of them is a Connector, and he has a quick test to determine how much of a Connector you are.
On New Year’s Eve I received this great compliment: “You connect people, Martin,” he said, “You connect the dots.” I was really chuffed to have someone put me in this group, especially an executive recruiter.
To be more of a connector at your next networking event, encourage open and frank dialogue amongst the group. Embrace conversation around a variety of topics, steering in the direction that can bring benefit to all participants.
Bear in mind that there are probably people hanging in behind you wanting to join the conversation. So turn around, invite them into the fold, and help them make new connections.