You know that networking can connect you with the next big opportunity in your career. And that’s exactly why you leave your comfort zone to do it.
But all your efforts are a little pointless if you never follow up in a meaningful way. If you want to grow that initial meeting into something more, you have to impress the other person, and lay the foundation for an ongoing relationship.
Fortunately, it’s not as daunting as it sounds.
There’s a simple strategy you can use to stand out and impress anyone you meet (even if they’ve met 100 other people that day). I call it the Super-Connector strategy.
Here’s how it works: Every time you meet someone new, think of one person in your network who they’d benefit from knowing, and then do your best to make the introduction within a week.
In order to do this well, you should be asking questions to learn about your new contact’s background and recent work. For example, Muse writer Andrew Horn suggests the following alternatives to “What do you do?”:
What are you most excited about at the moment?
Any big challenges coming down the line for you?
What’s the next big thing you have coming up?
If you didn’t do what you’re doing now—what kind of job would you have?
What This Sounds Like
“You know, I actually have a colleague who made the transition from nonprofit to tech. I’ll ask about connecting the two of you this week so you can share ideas.”
Why This Works
Clearly, you’re offering to connect them so they can gain valuable insights and new connection. But, it isn’t just generous, there are a lot of ways this will benefit you too:
- It encourages you to listen more than you talk because you’re so focused on what they’re doing. And that helps you look genuinely interested.
- It makes you stand out because you’re offering something rather than asking for help or advice. You’re giving, not taking.
- It’s a seamless transition into getting their contact info.
- It gives you an angle to follow-up later that week. Meeting somebody one time doesn’t make them an asset in your network. It takes multiple conversations—and this starts that discussion.
- It shows how thoughtful you are. By saying you’ll check with the other person first, they know you’re thinking about how you can add value, but not simply assuming; and that you’ll treat them with the same respect. (P.S. Asking that other contact is called a “double opt-in intro” and we have a template for it here.)
As with anything else, the more you practice it, the easier it’ll become—and the more people you’ll add to your network. So, stand out by taking yourself out of the equation. Trust me: By thinking about the most valuable contact for the other person, you’ll make yourself even more memorable.
Photo of people networking courtesy of Zero Creatives/Getty Images.
Biron is a tech recruiter, job search coach, and founder of the blog Career Sidekick. As a recruiter he has partnered with Fortune 100 companies down to six-person tech startups while helping hundreds of job seekers advance their careers. He’s passionate about business, entrepreneurship, and technology.More from this Author