The English Poet, John Donne, wrote that “No man is an Island, entire of itself…” As such, we all need friends and contacts to be happy and successful in both life and business.
Connecting with people seldom happens on it’s own. If you want to enhance the process and build a network of personal friends and professional connections you’ll need to do a little work.
Below are 10 tips for helping make those connections:
1. It all starts with you. Be open, friendly, happy and positive. People who appear happy are more attractive to others. The image and impression you project can enhance or degrade you ability to make lasting connections. Trust others with information about yourself, so that they can trust you. Be genuine and real.
2. You are what you do. Trust is easily lost and almost impossible to regain. Call when you say you’re going to call. Show up when you say you’re going to show up. Be the person you want them to know.
3. Take it at face value. Even if you have alternative motives for meeting someone, don’t let those motives own you. People who are in any position of power or prestige are often very cautious about meeting new people. They always ask themselves the question, “What do they want?” Initially you shouldn’t want anything more then a successful connection.
4. Respect and confidence. Respect yourself, respect them and have confidence in your abilities. This may come across in many ways, a firm handshake, eye-to-eye contact or focusing on what they’re saying. Be sure to listen. Confirm you’re listening and interested by your follow-on questions and statements.
5. Be honest at all cost. Lies will eventually catch up to you and when they do they will almost certainly damage your reputation and the connection. Plus trying to keep up ongoing lies is hard work.
6. Be value added. If you want a solid connection with someone you will need to convince them that you offer value for them as they offer value for you. The values need not be the same or equal. If there is perceived two-way value the connection will often grow and mature.
7. Don’t drop the ball after you’re in the game. Once you’ve made the initial connection with someone keep in touch with them. If you don’t, then tip number two comes into play. They will be told by your actions that you don’t really care enough to maintain contact.
8. Practice your skills. Good musicians, good athletes and good communicators all have one thing in common. They practice and hone their skills. Always look to improve yourself. Video tape yourself in conversation and then watch it. Take notes of objectionable things you may do. Practice, practice, improve! You have to sell yourself with your communications skills.
9. Have your bags packed. You never know when an opportunity to meet someone important will present itself. Be ready mentally and physically. Look your best and have your A-Game ready.
10. Extend your reach. Opportunities are often short lived. Even when it’s scary you have to venture forward. You have to extend yourself outside of your comfort zone. That’s often where the real gains are. Rehearse unusual circumstances and your reaction to them in your mind.