I’m at a time in my life when I’m not only looking to expand my network, but to make new friends in the process. There’s nothing like having a group of like-minded professionals to spend some down time with. But in order to make someone a friend and a lasting networking contact, you have to really connect with them on a personal level. How do you do that? You make your conversations meaningful.
I’ve had a lot of practice with this lately, and was excited to come across “5 Underused Tactics to Make an Immediate, Genuine Connection with Anyone” on Brazen Life. Scott Dinsmore’s tips are simple, yet highly effective. After reading his tips and considering my experiences, here’s what you can do to build genuine connections — whether you’re looking for new friends or just wanting to do some powerful networking:
- Be open and share what you’re passionate about. This is by far the best thing you could do, because when you get people talking about what truly excites them, you start forming a bond. Look for the common ground between your passion and the other person’s — maybe you’ve had similar frustrations and struggles. I met another woman for coffee a few weeks ago, and we were meeting to discuss my potential role on a nonprofit committee. We both discovered we were interested in book publishing, and our conversation took off.
- Find ways to help each other. Once you find some common ground, find a way you might help that person pursue their passion. Maybe it’s just some advice or sympathy, or maybe you yourself can help that person reach their goal with your talents. If you take an interest, and show your support, you’ve made a connection that can last.
- Develop your own signature. Dinsmore says that he likes to tip with $2 bills. This might seem strange, and it might seem like it has nothing to do with making connections, but it does make him stand out. It sparks conversation and interest. One of our CGN contributors, Rebecca Niziol, always gives me a hug when she says goodbye to me at the end of the day. I remember her for this, and it makes me feel appreciated. It may take some time to find your signature, but it will come naturally to you. It’s all about just showing and sharing your authentic self.
- Express gratitude. Dinsmore suggests finding a reason to thank every person you meet. This is a great piece of advice — everyone likes to feel appreciated. If someone helps you, or shares a new piece of insight you hadn’t heard before, say thank you.
These are some of the simple ways to create a connection, but also recognize that you won’t click with every person you meet. Even if you don’t hit it off, they’ll remember you for being polite and engaging, and that’s always a plus. There are a lot of great ways to make connections with others, and you can read more of them on Brazen Life.
How have you made genuine connections at networking events — or online? Tell us more below.