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Networking Connecting with People

Networking - How to Connect with People Quickly

Essential Leadership and Management for Engineers

Networking Connecting with People

Get into the habit of establishing contact with people quickly. Try some of the following to help you improve:

  • After meeting somebody at an event or meeting, get into the habit of sending off a quick thank you email – you’ll be more memorable and people generally appreciate it.
  • If you’ve been to a group event and want to follow up or ask a question afterwards, try emailing all those in the group. Even if you aim the question at one person, copy the rest of the group in.
  • With emails, develop a strong explanatory, yet succinct introduction so people are likely to want to get back in contact with you.

  • Use your mapped out network to identify potential leads or individuals who may be able to help you.

  • Challenge yourself – in new situations be bold and set yourself a target of meeting 2 or 3 new people.

  • Be bold and make the first move! Introduce yourself using your mentally prepared introductory sentence or phrase. This will do wonders for your confidence.

  • Also, quickly build rapport by talking about common ground issues. These may include the event which brought you together, interesting things you’ve just seen or common interest topics. In short, start speaking about things you are likely to agree on, as well as themes you can expand and develop into broader, more memorable conversations.

  • For the best first impressions, as well as your mentally prepared introduction, aim to be friendly, positive and well mannered. Observe other professionals.

  • When introducing yourself talk clearly, calmly and with enthusiasm. Make sure you are easy to understand and don’t talk too quickly. Your message needs to be clear.

Proactively consider how you can find ways of expanding your network. Consider these suggestions:

  • Be more visible at work. If possible, get out of your normal work environment more. This is particularly important if you manage employees in different locations. They really will appreciate it and respect you more. Book meetings and visits to talk to teams and individuals.

  • Related to the above, stop and talk to people more. Practice small talk, as well as discussing business.

  • Say hello to people you don’t know. Go on try it – dare yourself! If they are in your organisation then you’ve instantly got something in common. Importantly you’ve got shared aims, so why not.

  • If you serve others or the output of your team delivers something to others, you have a natural opportunity to seek feedback. As such, you’ve instantly got common ground on which to build. Expand the conversation and discuss broader subjects.

  • Follow up any external meetings. Email is convenient and quick for this. Examples include supplier and (potential) customer visits, conferences, exhibitions, industry and academia meetings, training and community events.

  • Volunteer for activities at work, particular where you’ll be working with people you don’t know. Be bold and come out of your comfort zone. You’ll be all the better for the new experiences, fresh outlook and different opinions.

  • Encourage yourself to chat to others. Starting with friends, but also friends of friends. Respectfully put your opinions across and join in. Try to be more open and less aloof and guarded.

  • When following up meetings with emails, let people know you are happy or open to answer questions or discuss things further. Ask a question to encourage debate and turn your passive email recipients into active colleagues who want to engage with you and give their opinions.

  • To expand your network, perhaps to meet career goals, brainstorm what you potentially have in common with obvious and less obvious members of your mapped network.

Networking Connecting with People

Next... Networking Personal Styles: Learn from others whilst Developing Yours

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