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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 November 19, 2018

How to Find a Suitable Professional Mentor

How to Find a Suitable Professional Mentor

I went through a personal experience that acted as a catalyst for an epiphany. When I got fired from a job, I learned something important about myself and where I was headed with my freelance career. I realized that the most important aspect of that one rather small job was the influence of the company owner. I realized that I wasn’t hurt that the company and I weren’t a perfect match; I was devastated by the stark fact that I needed a mentor and I had almost found one but lost her.

Suddenly, I felt like J.D., the main character in “Scrubs,” chasing Dr. Cox and trying to rip insight and wisdom from someone I respect. The realization that a recognized thought-leader and experienced entrepreneur severed ties with me felt crushing. But, I picked myself back up and thought about five ways to acquire a mentor without having the awkwardness of outright asking.

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1. Remember, a professional mentorship must be mutual.

A professional mentor must agree to engage in a mutual relationship because, as the comedy T.V. series showed us, one simply cannot force someone to tutor us. We have to prove that we are worth the time investment through persistence and dedication to the craft.

2. You have to have common interests with your mentor.

Even if a professional mentor appears at your job or school, realize that unless you and this person have common interests, you won’t find the relationship successful. I’ve been in situations where someone I respected had vastly different ideas about what was important in life or what one should spend his or her free time doing. If these things don’t line up, you may find the relationship won’t be as fruitful, even when the mentor knows a great deal about one industry.

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3. Thought-leaders will respect your passion.

One of the ways you can prove yourself worthy to a professional mentor is through your passion and your dedication. No one wants to spend time grooming and teaching another who will not take advice or put the effort in to improve. When following thought-leaders on Twitter and trying to engage with higher-ups in a work setting, realize that your actions most often speak louder than your words.

4. Before worrying if he respects you, ask if you respect him.

On the other side of the coin, you should seriously reflect on those common interests and make sure you respect your professional mentor. Just because someone holds a title, degree or office does not mean that person is trustworthy or honest. Don’t be swayed by appearances and take the time to find a suitable professional mentor.

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5. Failure is often the best way to learn

I honestly have made more mistakes than I can count. I know I’ve learned a great deal from poorly organized businesses and my own poor choices. The most important quality I’ve developed is an ability to swallow my pride and learn from my mistakes. If life knocks me down nine times, I get back up 10 times. One of the songs Megadeth wrote, “Of Mice and Men,” resonates in my mind when I pull myself up by my bootstraps and try again for a goal I’ve set: “So live your life and live it well. There’s not much left of me to tell. I just got back up each time I fell.” Hopefully, this brief post can act as a professional mentor to you in your quest to find not only a brave leader but also a trusted adviser.

Featured photo credit: morguefile via mrg.bz

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