Have you ever encountered a Super Connector? They are humans with “woo” who appear to know everyone no matter where they go. Sit down for coffee with a super connector, and suddenly they are introducing you to three new business contacts, best friends, and/or personal trainers. Connection happens to be one of my superpowers. Some of that is nature, some of it is nurture. These are four tips that helped me hone my ability to form authentic human connections through networking. They might just help you too.
1. Just Do It
Isn’t it scary and uncomfortable to reach out to someone new? Of course it is! You might get rejected or ghosted (both have happened to me). Most of the time, the other person is thinking the same thing and will be so glad you took the first step. In my very first month of professional work, I received wise advice to eat lunch with at least two people per week outside of my immediate team. This should have been easy for most people to achieve due to the size of the organization, and the fact that we had a built-in network via our onboarding program. However, not everyone followed through. I did, and soon I built a strong network of colleagues and friends across an enterprise in a brand-new city.
2. Build Your Own
If your perfect networking group already exists - fantastic! That doesn’t always happen, especially in a smaller community, or if you are a team of one. When I started my business, I craved the interaction that came from working with a team. At a virtual networking event, I met another like-minded individual who wanted to meet other female business owners and share authentic human connection over lunch. It started with the two of us, grew to three, then four. Now we have a list of more than thirty on the monthly meeting invitation. Sometimes only five people show up, sometimes there are twelve. Each time I learn something new and walk away refreshed and energized by other people’s stories and encouragement.
3. Make a List
Your network already has more people than you think. When creating my business, I needed some feedback on what services would be most helpful. I started a list of people to contact for coffee, lunch, or a Zoom meeting. Before long, that list had close to fifty people on it. At each meeting, I asked who else I should talk to - and I did. Very few of those conversations were awkward or led to a dead end. I learned something from every single one and many of them created friendships and collaborations that endure today.
4. Check In
Never underestimate the value of a quick, “hi, how are ya?” When someone pops into my head, I text them, call them, or email them in the moment to let them know I’m thinking of them. It allows us to authentically stay in touch, even when there is nothing needed other than to say “hello”. And when I do have exciting news to share or a request for assistance, the connection is still warm.
If you would like to get even better at building authentic human connection, please check out the YCNS Changemaker Certification Program, where our trainers, coaches, and consultants are waiting to help you!