I have a networking strategy to share with you. It has served me well in starting my career, and I believe it could serve me in a much grander way as I look for new ways to expand the way I think about business.
It is really quite simple: “Who are the top three people you would recommend that I meet?” “Who are the top three people you would recommend with relation to…” Who are the top three people who could help me with…”
You get the picture.
In any new experience, my first instinct is to learn as much as possible. Step one: find key people to learn from. Books are good, but not nearly as good as people when it comes to new experiences. The reason? People can direct you to the right books, the right people, etc. I’ll leave it up to you to make the first connection, but once you do – that is where the three key people questions come into play.
And why not make the extra connection? I’ve met very few people this way who were not worth meeting.
The number one rule with relation to the questions above: You cannot expect anything from those to whom you are referred. This is about cultivating relationships and learning, not jobs, money, or favors.
Ruler number two: If you’re going to ask, follow up.
Rule number three: Say thank you. To the person who first gave you names and to those with whom you end up connecting. Everyone’s time is valuable and if they’ve spent time getting to know you and offering advice, then they deserve thanks.
That’s it. A simple question and three rules for handling the connections properly.