How To Connect With The Right People
Connecting with people is challenging enough much less connecting your business to qualified buyers. You have the motivation to connect when your professional career, business success, and personal life require or innately drive you to match up with the right people. Of course, your target audience is often motivated to be on guard so the game of chase begins. In life we play on both sides, sometimes being the connector and sometimes being the target of connectors.
I’ll explain the five types of situations people experience that open them up to dropping their guard and connecting. Then I’ll explain seven powerful guidelines to be wildly successful as a connector.
In a world increasingly more “connected than ever before” due to rapidly advancing technology the human condition seems to repel connecting with others more than encouraging it. Personal, social and business factors drive why and when people are open to connecting. To be more basic, survival is the ultimate driver to connect with others. Prehistoric men and women found connecting made it easier and essential to survival. Then there is the biological need to connect and innate drive to procreate. Although the world has substantially evolved, the reasons for connecting with people have remained the same but became more challenging.
So how do you connect with people to grow as an individual and advance socially, politically, and professionally? Consider how the reasons people repel connecting revolve around guarding themselves. Think of yourself for example. Being inundated with messages through multiple communication channels is common; cold approaches, emails, texts, calls, and the list goes on. Naturally, these attempts to connect are intended to get something from you. So you learn to be on guard just like others do. Then, when you are in the position to initiate connecting with people you face a closed-off society. Even when you go to a bar, club or social event to meet people they are standoffish. Even at industry trade shows and company events, people seem hard to approach and even harder to build a relationship with.
Opportunities to connect with people typically occur with five types of people. These five are based on the situation people are in at the moment. These categories can overlap as people may fit into more than one category at a time.
- People charged with networking, marketing, and selling
It is their purpose to meet people. Of course, they need to connect with specific types of people who fit into their target audience demographics and psychographics. Ultimately, their objective is to further a profit-driven cause.
- People arriving at groups, cliques, or communities
They are driven by desires to be accepted and be liked. If you have ever been the new kid in a class or new to a community then you know this feeling. Ultimately, their objective is to shed isolation.
- People who are career and job-hunting
These are individuals fueled by a single cause to obtain work. Usually, a specific industry or profession directs how and who they strive to connect with. Ultimately, they want direct contact with or at least connections to authority to hire.
- People seeking romantic and or sexual relationships
Taking human biology into account, people are wired to seek personal relationships. They may desire companionship, love, sex or a combination. Rather this involves living together, marriage or procreation, ultimately, people need close intimacy.
- People attending an event like parties or other types of gatherings
Sometimes people end up at a party rather they want to or are obligated. They may or may not have the other four category drivers in mind. Ultimately the objective to connect is about shedding awkwardness of standing alone and being accepted.
What about friendship? Well, most people can count their number of true friends on one hand. If you are lucky then it might take two hands to count them. Friendship too takes work to maintain as it is about connecting. It should be fun and rewarding. It usually occurs in the course of these five categories.
Be wildly successful as a connector following these seven guidelines.
- Know your purpose for connecting and be clear with others about it. That does not mean to immediately start selling or asking, “Hey will you like me.” Do not have hidden agendas though. Just be genuinely kind and engaging with people. Since people like to talk about themselves allow them to do so by asking good questions. Steer the conversation in areas of common ground versus coming across as an interrogator. Share about yourself along the way to have fun give and take dialogue. Focus on relationship building, which is a marathon, not a race.
- Identify the right places for connecting. Interactions via face-to-face, phone calls, and video calls, as well as emails, texts, and online forums, comprise the environments you can connect. Ideally, you should use multiple environments to be successful at building relationships. Make a list of the places you can meet people. Ask others for advice on where to meet people and build your list. Determine the schedule you can be involved in those places. It takes a plan and some work to successfully connect with the right people. Exert yourself and get in the right places.
- Approach and be approachable to make connecting happen. Standing in the corner at the party, dance, event, room, etc. does not make it easy to approach you. Plus, you have confined yourself to not approaching others by taking this cornered position. Break the mind frame holding you back from being open to connecting and the fear of rejection that prevents successful relationship building with the right people. Connecting is so easy once you start communicating with people that it makes the challenges preventing it seems silly. Just approach people and engage them when they approach you. Smile and be warm and friendly!
- Get and give contact details with those you are connecting with. Some forms of communication automatically yield some contact detail, such as Facebook or LinkedIn. Getting contact details means gathering as much information as possible. Ideally, having a person’s cell number, work number, personal email address, business email address, social media handles, work address, home address as well as details on their role or position in life makes relationship building more productive. This does not mean it is okay to stalk someone. Relationship building is as much about knowing how to communicate as it is on knowing when and what to communicate.
- Give interesting and valuable contributions when you connect. Knowing what to communicate to connect is essential. Having the right content to share, rather it is pictorial, oral or written is half the battle. How you deliver the content is the other half of the battle. Although, some say the delivery is more important so you decide, but do both well. Be genuine in two accounts. First, genuinely care about those you seek to connect with. Empathy is the pinnacle of relationship building, therefore, focus your contributions on your ability to understand and share the feelings of others. Second, genuinely give without expectations of receiving. Also, those who actively learn are the most fun to talk with.
- Initiate interactions to follow up and be open to others following up. Ever had a great conversation with someone but then you never talked with him or her again? So much time, energy, money, and resources are wasted because of poor and zero follow up. The trick is to not get your feelings or pride hurt when people do not follow up with you first or if they do not respond readily when you follow up. Your job is to balance following up so it is not too much too fast and to use multiple channels to follow up, such as calls, emails, texts, and social media. It is best to end an interaction with someone in a cliffhanger position. Meaning, you provided just cause or proper intrigue for there to be further interactions. It is best to schedule the next interaction before you end the current interaction. Regardless, use these three actions to build relationships… follow up, follow up, and follow up.
- Make more connections using the connections you have. Making connections should work like setting up a row of dominos and then knocking the first one over so that they all fall in a sequence. By getting introductions to the people your connections know you can quickly grow more connections. Plus, you have an “in” with these people because you have already gotten to know someone whom they accept. Set up situations where it is natural for the people you know to gather their connections with you. Such as lunches and dinners, or parties and events. Then use the other guidelines to build the relationships. Consider this your connection synergy.
Conclusion to connecting with the right people
Just as caring for and nurturing your garden is required for it to flourish, the same applies to successful connecting to build relationships. If you do not have a “green thumb” so to speak, meaning you are too introverted or just too Mind Blocked to be a successful connector, then the best advice I can give you is to, “force yourself.” Once you start it will be easier. There is no magic to being great at connecting with people. It just takes a positive attitude and let this be the magnetic appeal that draws people to you and drops their guard. Then follow the guidelines I provided.
You have to work at it to be a good connector and then work harder to perfect the art of becoming great. Assign yourself daily tasks to follow the guidelines provided. Use your cell phone calendar and task list by setting recurring reminders on your goals and assignments. Do the same to refresh daily on the five types of connectors and seven guidelines to be wildly successful in building relationships. Assign yourself measurable goals to achieve each day. Such as call, text, and email a certain number of people, and attend certain events or go to specific places to meet people. Then when your engaging people, be open, discuss more them than you, and avoid awkward jokes and making uncomfortable comments. Be self-aware. Smile a lot but only when appropriate as being like the character, Joker, will scare people away. Be aware of the situations and environments best to engage people. Use your body language and eye contact to connect with people. Compel yourself to achieve your daily connection goals. Open up to others and genuinely care for others without expectations. Your strategy and magnetism will soon grow your connections immensely.