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Making a positive impression on someone you met through a networking event or online need not be a difficult or use much of your time or resources. The following 15 quick ways to make a positive impression are designed to be easy to implement and most only take a few minutes to do, depending on where you are at.

The list is geared toward network-savvy professionals, especially those who are actively involved in expanding their business or ideas. Most of these 15 ways do not require having an in depth knowledge of the areas of interest of the person you want to impress. It is simple enough to ask for more information where you aren’t sure.
These things should come from a genuine area of interest and there should be no expectation of getting something back if you do one or more of these things for someone. Think of the impression you have of those who do these sorts of things for you from time to time – likely a positive one.

1. Forward relevant articles. Forwarding one or two articles or links is all that you should do here unless you get feedback asking for more of them. Don’t annoy someone by sending tons of stuff forever. One or two well chosen articles should do nicely. Audio and video clips are included in this.

2. Mention the person in a blog post or article you are writing. It is a good idea to run it by the person first although not always necessary if you are mentioning something that is already in the public domain. A positive brief mention will likely go over nicely.

3. Give them a marketing tip they can use for their business. It should be specific to something they do. Maybe you noticed something on the website or see someplace where some brief feedback could be helpful.

4. Write a helpful article for a publication or blog. Maybe you are in a position to feature the person in a publication or blog you regularly write for. Rather than just a brief mention as per item 2 above, this would be more of a feature that might involve you interviewing the person for your piece. Including the person in a speech you are giving also fits in here.

5. Introduce them to a prospective alliance partner. This can be a prospective client or someone the person can work with in some capacity. This is a common and traditional way to help someone.

6. Give them a relevant book. Don’t badger someone into reading it or become offended if it ends up sitting on a credenza for several months unread. It is also a good idea to let them pass it on to someone else who might find it more interesting. Don’t confuse this with loaning someone a book where there is an expectation of getting it back. That can become embarrassing if the book is lost, damaged or forgotten.

7. Forward them a useful template. This works especially well if you are well organized and have a collection of useful templates. Examples include business planning, GTD tools, checklists, marketing resources, etc.

8. Recommend directories where they can promote their business online. There is a large and growing number of places where people can promote their business online. Check and see if there is already a listing on one or more of the places that you look for stuff at. If there is no listing, suggest it.

9. Give them a testimonial. If suitable, you could give them something for their website, book, etc. The converse also works in some circumstances. This is where you put their blurb on your site, book, etc.

10. Sponsor or volunteer for their organization or group. This is a great way of supporting the person without being too direct about it. You can easily vary the level of support depending on your interests.

11. Give them promotional products. Most people like getting free stuff so if you give them a sample promotional product, it should go over well. Be careful to ensure you don’t violate their gift protocol if they work for the government or some other organization that has restrictions or disclosure requirements.

12. Answer their questions on LinkedIn or Yahoo Answers. Being able to answer someone’s question in a timely manner definitely adds value.

13. Forward their article to a colleague or client (and let them know). Spreading his or her information around is often an easy and effective way to help someone while also giving value to the recipient. Using the shot gun approach of blasting the information to your mailing lists is almost never a very good idea. But picking and choosing one or more select people to send it to can add good value.

14. Invite them to a relevant business event (just invite or pay for them). Some might consider a hockey or football game a relevant business event. In any case, sending invitations or tickets should be done based on his or her preferences and interests. Check schedules and availabilities before sending stuff out. Also make it easy for the person to politely decline your offer in case it doesn’t fit.

15. Buy their product or help make a sale. If the fit is a good one, buy it. Or if there is a clear fit for someone you know, help close the sale.

Doing these quick and simple things for someone adds value and can go a long way toward making a lasting positive impression. These things also tend to separate the doers from the talkers in the eyes of the recipient.

Peter Paul Roosen and Tatsuya Nakagawa are co-founders of Atomica Creative Group , a specialized strategic product marketing firm. Through leading edge insight and research, sound strategic planning and effective project management, Atomica helps companies achieve greater success in bringing new products to market and in improving their existing businesses. They have co-authored Overcoming Inventoritis: The Silent Killer of Innovation now available.

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