Before we can go beyond networking, we need to set in place a process for getting to connection.
We can turn each part of that process into an interaction by adding those crucial extra touches that help take matters “into the beyond.” The process begins when we meet someone for the first time.
Say you attended a networking event. In order to go beyond traditional networking, so that you can develop connections rather than just leads, remember to listen three times as much as you speak. In your conversation with your new acquaintance, use the three magic Beyond Networking words, “Tell Me More!”
Do you really want to go beyond traditional networking and turn that first meeting into a first real interaction? As you’re preparing to leave the event, make one last round to say goodbye to that person you met for the first time.
Many networkers follow up an initial meeting with an e-mail saying how much they enjoyed the encounter and how much they’re looking forward to meeting that contact again soon.
If you want to go beyond those traditional statements in your e-mail, and turn into an interaction, mention some specific news item or piece of information that relates your new contact’s work or personal life…
“Tom, since you shared with me how much you like sushi, you might want to catch the next meeting of Confluence, which is next Tuesday at a sushi restaurant.”
“Susie, I’ve been thinking about what you said about employee absenteeism. When we see each other next time, I’ll tell you how I was able to put that tip to use right away in my office.”
Your e-mail could provide a lead, a suggestion, some information, anything that shows you thought your conversation with him or her was memorable.
Recalling your conversation with your new contact, if you think a project or a partnership with your new acquaintance could be put into place, you can suggest that the two of you get together.
If you want to go even further beyond that and create an interaction, you might explain that you’ve been thinking about the conversation the two of you had. Mention that you’re actually working on an idea that you think can benefit you both, and you’re excited to share it and get feedback.
Remember: in “the beyond,” you’re trying to accomplish much, more than just leads. You’re going for the connection!
In future blog posts, we’ll talk more about building a system for making connections happen, but for now, keep this in mind… Whenever you follow a system for turning contacts into connections and focus on going Beyond Networking to true interactions, the good things that start happening can be almost beyond belief!