0 2 Aug, 2011
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The Secret to Making Connections that Work

—staying in touch after getting in touch

You see, I have been in Chandigarh and worked for Netgains for almost one month, the number of friends I’ve met here is approximately equal to it in my 3-year-university life. One of the numerous of similar activities here: last night, there was a farewell party for one of my best friend- Chris, there are around 30 people there from different countries with strange-pronounced names, after dinner, we talked with each other and took pictures together, exchange the facebook accounts, we became friends.

But, do I really know these people a lot? Of course not, I know more about the sanitation worker who collects the rubbish accumulated in my house garden than these people. Nevertheless, these are really nice people that I do want to know more and establish further friendships. How? Social Networks, of course!

Meeting and friending people has become fairly easy with social networks, live events, and a gazillion ways to locate, like, and follow peers.

Before we start the discussion focused on this topic, think this over ’what do you value?’ When you start making more decisions based upon what’s really important and figure out a way to measure that, the return is easier to spot.

Being connected helps us put what we learn to good use. This is true for businesses as it is for individuals. Connections are also situational, just like influence can be. There is tons of great information out there for becoming technically savvy.

The challenge is that there are no best practices in being human. And ‘making the connection’ is not the hardest part. ‘Keeping it ‘is. So how do you go about finding ways for it to be mutually beneficial and memorable? Here is some tips I wanna share with you today:

  • make some notes in the back of the card about where you met that person and what you talked about, then enter them in your electronic database with their contact information
  • it’s a good idea to follow up with people right after an event, while the energy from the experience is still high, and it’s likely they’d remember it if not you
  • if you have resources like articles, posts, links, or connections to people, you can share and make in your follow up, that gets you started on a good and memorable footing
  • after the initial contact, that’s when things tend to drop off, especially as time goes by
  • so it’s a good idea to develop a system to keep track of when you contact people similar to the one you may have learned about when you were looking for your first job or the next gig
  • that was you can revisit it periodically to touch base with people you may not have heard from or talked to in a while
  • make it a habit to share with that person special content, leads, helpful things as you come across them
  • this means you will need to navigate the fine line between inundating people with stuff and being useful
  • being useful could even be sending short messages on Twitter when appropriate — it’s scalable on social networks, and you can make it meaningful by personalizing the comment
  • find ways to join initiatives or projects by the people with whom you have good affinity and be open to opportunities coming from others you have met
  • make a habit of these activities, learn from what works, improve what doesn’t, seek feedback, and get creative
  • you may even find ways to do projects or support an organization that means a lot to your contact over time, either directly or indirectly
  • you could switch from mentee to mentor, from employee to consultant, from boss to peer in corresponding situations, for example
  • most importantly, have fun and don’t get discouraged by occasional dips in communication and silences, people do get busy

Connections are a gift. When you put a little bit of effort in maintaining them, you’ll be surprised at the developments and possibilities they bring into your work, and life. Often it’s the connections of the people you meet that end up making a difference.

So, this can be the initial move of strengthen your social network, but then, comes the bigger puzzle: ’How to be a highly connective person?’ Here is some tips given by Anil Dash:

(1.) Believe you can make a difference

In case you were wondering if this is only touchy-feely, look at how Dana White built a UFC empire out of his desire to connect with fans.

(2.) Think knowledge as a service

It’s an overused expression, it really does apply. We live in a remix culture, where individuals, industries, and media will thrive by allowing the exchange of ideas. That’s where new connections are made.

(3.) Take risks

They can be small ones. This was one of my points when I talked about passion as well. Creating new habits involves exploring new territory.

(4.) Have a point with your view

In other words, put substance behind the approach. Do your homework, be prepared to defend and discuss a topic intelligently and willingly.

(5.) Keep your promises

This is valid at individual and organizational level. Coming through, following up helps you maintain integrity of purpose and build credibility.

(6.) Say it another way

If at first it doesn’t work, assume it’s because your question, request, or inquiry were not clear to the recipient. Look for an example, a story, some other way to make it easier to understand.

(7.) Show it

Whether it’s support, empathy, or active listening, actually demonstrating it is a faster route than a few well-practiced words. Non verbals work wonderfully here.

(8.) Connect actively

If needs be, do it then and there. Forward the message, make the introduction, help people see what they have in common, draw them together.

(9.) Write it down

Inevitably, you will get ideas in the course of connecting. Make sure you have a way to capture them – I still do it the 1.0 way, on notepads.

(10.) Let them know you thought of them

This is the nice touch that takes very little time. Depending upon your relationship stage and communication channels open, find ways to show you noticed or thought of someone habitually.

(11.) Be present to opportunities

Really, you don’t need to build Rome in a day, as the expression goes. It’s sufficient to be willing to see an opportunity when it presents itself.

(12.) Think beyond your close circle

Now that we’re talking more about circles, as many experienced professionals know, it is often the people your contacts know who are most interesting to connections because they are removed from your day to day.

Whether you use social networks, email, even snail, staying in touch after getting in touch is the secret to making connections that work.

OK, that’s all I can figure out now, if you have any creative thought or idea wanted to be shared and discussed, leave a comment below. ;0





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