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4 Ways to Become a People Connector

4 Ways to Become a People Connector

One of the best ways to get known in any field is to start connecting people. As you become known as someone with many connections, people start coming to you when they have a need and trust that you’ll send them to the right person.

This means that when people come to you with a problem that you can solve you can cherry pick it. It also means that many people will attribute their successful projects to your connection! You’ll be the one person that so many people think of first with any endeavour.

Here is how you become a people connector.

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1. Don’t sit with friends

When you go to a conference or networking event it’s always easy to find the people that you know and stand around talking to them. This is a problem because you’re not meeting anyone new to connect with anyone else.

Your first goal when you go to a business event is to sit with people that you don’t know so that you can get to know them.

2. Set a ‘new people’ goal

Once you’ve got over the discomfort of sitting with new people it’s time to start setting a goal for the new people you’re going to meet. Depending on the size of the event somewhere between 2 – 5 is a great place to start.

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You need to make sure that you’re not just walking up to groups of people and handing out your business card like some automated machine. The goal is not to make sure a whole bunch of people know you, it’s to find ways to connect the people that you meet with other people you know.

3. Ask lots of questions

When you’re meeting these 2 – 5 people don’t just talk about yourself. In fact, only talk about what you do when they ask. You should spend your time asking them questions about their business so that by the time you’re done talking you know who their ideal client is well enough that you can send people to them.

Use questioning techniques like 5 Why’s, or 5 W’s. Make sure you ask open questions that don’t just take a yes/no answer. If you do this right then when the conversation ends the person you talked to will feel entirely different. They’re used to the run and gun approach where no one really digs in — and you’ll  be one of the only people that doesn’t do it.

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Remember, don’t just wait for your turn to speak. Ask lots of questions and get to know their business well.

4. Follow Up

Being a connector doesn’t end with a single event — you need to follow up. A great way to remember all the people you’ve met is to take their business card and write down what you talked about. I carry a set of Post-It notes in my pocket and write down some notes and stick it to their card while they watch me.

When you leave and before you drive home, look through the cards and make tasks for each one so you follow up the next business day. Most people never expect to hear from those they gave business cards to. If you can, try to connect them with someone you know right away. If not make sure you put them in your follow-up system so that you connect with them on a regular basis.

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If you follow these 4 rules of being a great connector you’re going to become a memorable go to person and success will follow. The simple fact of taking notes about your discussion and actually following up after the event will stand you head and shoulders above 99% of the other people at any event.

Featured photo credit: demietrich via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

How to Mind Map to Visualize Your Thoughts (With Mind Map Examples)

How to Mind Map to Visualize Your Thoughts (With Mind Map Examples)

Traditionally, when you have a lot of ideas in your mind, you would create a text document, or take a sheet of paper and start writing in a linear fashion like this:

  • Intro to Visual Facilitation
    • Problem, Consequences, Solution, Benefits, Examples, Call to action
  • Structure
    • Why, What, How to, What If
  • Do It Myself?
    • Audio, Images, time-consuming, less expensive
  • Specialize Offering?
    • Built to Sell (Standard Product Offering), Options (Solving problems, Online calls, Dev projects)

This type of document quickly becomes overwhelming. It obviously lacks in clarity. It also makes it hard for you to get a full picture at a glance and see what is missing.

You always have too much information to look at, and most often you only get a partial view of the information. It’s hard to zoom out, figuratively, and to see the whole hierarchy and how everything is connected.

To see a fuller picture, create a mind map.

What Is a Mind Map?

A mind map is a simple hierarchical radial diagram. In other words, you organize your thoughts around a central idea. This technique is especially useful whenever you need to “dump your brain”, or develop an idea, a project (for example, a new product or service), a problem, a solution, etc. By capturing what you have in your head, you make space for other thoughts.

In this article, we are focusing on the basics: mind mapping using pen and paper.

The objective of a mind map is to clearly visualize all your thoughts and ideas before your eyes. Don’t complicate a mind map with too many colors or distractions. Use different colors only when they serve a purpose. Always keep a mind map simple and easy to follow.

    Image Credit: English Central

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    By following the three next steps below, you will be able to create such mind maps easily and quickly.

    3 Simple Steps to Create a Mind Map

    The three steps are:

    1. Set a central topic
    2. Add branches of related ideas
    3. Add sub-branches for more relevant ideas

    Let’s take a look at an example Verbal To Visual illustrates on the benefits of mind mapping.[1]

    Step 1 : Set a Central Topic

    Take a blank sheet of paper, write down the topic you’ve been thinking about: a problem, a decision to make, an idea to develop, or a project to clarify.

    Word it in a clear and concise manner.

      What is the first idea that comes to mind when you think of the subject for your mind map? Draw a line (straight or curved) from the central topic, and write down that idea.

        Step 3 : Add Sub-Branches for More Relevant Ideas

        Then, what does that idea make you think of? What is related to it? List it out next to it in the same way, using your pen.

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          You can always add more to it later, but that’s good for now.

          In our example, we could detail the sub-branch “Benefits” by listing those benefits in sub-branches of the branch “Benefits”. Unfortunately, we already reached the side of the sheet, so we’re out of space to do so. You could always draw a line to a white space on the page and list them there, but it’s awkward.

          Since we created this mind map on a regular letter-format sheet of paper, the quantity of information that fits in there is very limited. That is one of the main reasons why I recommend that you use software rather than pen and paper for most of the mind mapping that you do.

          Repeat Step 2 and Step 3

          Repeat steps 2 and 3 as many times as you need to flush out all of your ideas around the topic that you chose.

            I added first-level (main) branches around the central topic mostly in a clockwise fashion, from top-right to top-left. That is how, by convention, a mind map is read.

            In the next section, we are covering the three strategies to building your maps.  

            Mind Map Examples to Illustrate Mind Mapping

            You can go about creating a mind map in various ways:

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            • Branch by Branch: Adding whole branches (with all of their sub-branches), one by one.
            • Level by Level: Adding elements to the map, one level at a time. That means that firstly, you add elements around the central topic (main branches). Then, you add sub-branches to those main branches. And so on.
            • Free-Flow: Adding elements to your mind map as they come to you, in no particular order.

            Branch by Branch

            Start with the central topic, add a first branch. Focus on that branch and detail it as much as you can by adding all the sub-branches that you can think of.

              Then develop ideas branch by branch.

                A branch after another, and the mind map is complete.

                  Level by Level

                  In this “Level by Level” strategy, you first add all the elements that you can think of around the central topic, one level deep only. So here you add elements on level 1:

                    Then, go over each branch and add the immediate sub-branches (one level only). This is level 2:

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                      Idem for the next level. This is level 3. You can have as many levels as you want in a mind map. In our example, we only have 3 levels. Now the map is complete:

                        Free-Flow

                        Basically, a free flow strategy of mind mapping is to add main branches and sub-topics freely. No rules to restrict how ideas should flow in the mind map. The only thing to pay attention to is that you need to be careful about the level of the ideas you’re adding to the mind map — is it a main topic, or is it a subtopic?

                          I recommend using a combination of the “Branch by Branch” and the “Free-Flow” strategies.

                          What I normally do is I add one branch at a time, and later on review the mind map and add elements in various places to finish it. I also sometimes build level 1 (the main branches) first, then use a “Branch by Branch” approach, and later finish the map in a “Free-Flow” manner.

                          Try each strategy and combinations of strategies, and see what works best for you.

                          The Bottom Line

                          When you’re feeling stuck or when you’re just starting to think about a particular idea or project, take out a paper and start to brain dump your ideas and create a mind map. Mind mapping has the magic to clear your head and have your thoughts organized.

                          If you can’t always have access to a paper and pen, don’t worry! Creating a mind map with software is very effective and you get none of the drawbacks of pen and paper. You can also apply the above steps and strategies just the same when using a mind mapping tool on the phone and computer.

                          More Tools to Help You Organize Thoughts

                          Featured photo credit: Alvaro Reyes via unsplash.com

                          Reference

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