By Lynne Waymon
It’s spring! Is it time for you to grow your circle of contacts? Here’s how to do it in 3 steps:
Create contacts: First, get clear on your purpose – at work, at home, in your community. Decide who in the world you need to know to fulfill that purpose. Think through where you can find those people. Learn more about organizations you might join where the people you want to meet congregate. Figure out what you will do to get acquainted with members. Identify what’s on your Agenda (What You Have to Give and What You Want to Get). Get clear on your answer(s) too, “What do you do?” Attend events/meetings. Help out. Help others make great connections. Listen generously. Have a couple of Success Stories to tell when people ask, “What’s new?”
Cultivate relationships: Use meetings/events to set up lunches, coffees, or phone conversations with contacts. Teach your contacts about your expertise and what you are looking for. Listen to learn about your contacts’ expertise and what they are looking for. Think of ways to demonstrate your character and competence through what you say and do. Use a contact management system to help you remember key facts about your contacts and how to reach them. Think of ways to “prime the pump” by giving first, giving generously. Collect juicy tidbits of information, valuable websites, meaty articles, reliable resources, etc. to give away. Look for ways to be useful to your contacts. Our studies show it takes about 6 to 8 contacts with someone before they know you and trust you.
Capitalize on your contacts’ expertise: When you need a resource, or a new job, or a piano tuner, you’ll know just who to call. Be ready to reciprocate with equally valuable information and a personal thank you. If you haven’t been in touch for several months, find a way to re-connect. Take action. Re-activate contacts regularly. Set up an expectation of monthly, or bi-annual, or even annual get-togethers. In between these meetings, find a way to say hello and “I value you” to your contacts. Send a holiday card or an article that will help your contact with something that’s on their Agenda. Happy Networking!
Lynne Waymon is a keynote speaker, trainer & author who specializes in networking, negotiating and career development. With Anne Baber, she is the author of Make Your Contacts Count (NY, 2002, AMA) which can be ordered thru www.ContactsCount.com Phone: 301-589-8633 or 1-800-352-2939