For the most part, networking is a long game.
Sure, something good might come out of your first encounter with someone, but more often than not, networking is about building relationships with people over time, adding them to your professional circle, and connecting with them on an ongoing basis.
While there aren’t many quick-and-dirty tips for that type of process, master networker Amey Shivapurkar recently offered one that’s pretty useful:
Remember one fact about each person you meet, then bring it up next time you see or contact them.
As he explains in an article on Medium, “A person is more likely to do a favor for someone that shows interest in what he or she likes. It creates a connection. The ‘one fact’ tip helps speed along the connection time.”
In other words, it helps you instantly reconnect with people when you see them again, which helps you build a genuine relationship more quickly. Here’s how it works, he shares:
When I worked at the consulting firm I made sure to learn one fact about each Senior Manager (SM). I learned one SM just had a baby, another SM loved talking about his house renovations, and another SM enjoyed trying new restaurants.
…In the case of the SM who loved trying new restaurants, I would continually ask her advice about different restaurants and what might be best for certain occasions. Eventually our relationship grew to where she would ask me how my dinners went and what I thought of restaurants. Our relationship developed, and I was able to benefit in the capacity of better projects, expediting assistance, and good recommendations.
The key is to remember just one fact—if you try to remember everything about every person you meet, you’ll be overloaded and inevitably remember nothing. Need a memory trigger? Try keeping a spreadsheet of all of your professional contacts, then add a field for “Quick Facts.” Or, save all of your contacts in your phone, and add what you’ve learned in the “Notes” section. If you’re more of the pen-and-paper type, jot the fact down on the back of each person’s business card, and save them all in an organized place.
Then, the next time you drop your contacts a line or want to ask them to coffee to pick their brain? Weave their interest or fun fact into the conversation. Showing you remembered them is a great way to be memorable yourself.