Want the ultimate guide to connecting with people at work? Read Never Eat Alone, by Keith Ferrazzi. There’s about 3 books’ worth of great advice here, but my biggest takeaways are:
- Service first
- Be authentic
- Get creative
- Follow up like a boss
Ferrazzi’s networking & communications foundation is built on service to others: we should seek to serve others before serving ourselves. If you’re just in a conversation for what you can get out of it, you’re missing the point.
By helping others, they’re more likely to reciprocate when you need it. Not to mention the fact that you’re generating a bit of positive cosmic energy. Woo, but true.
Make sure any networking or other communications you do are rooted in what you stand for. People can tell when you’re being fake, and you can’t build trust with them from that space.
If you’re not a naturally exuberant glad-hander, don’t try to fake being one. You can still connect with people, no matter your personality dynamic.
When people don’t respond to an email or call, it’s not because they hate you (!). Folks are incredibly busy, and with our 24/7 inflow of information, emails, social media, calls, meetings…well, you get the picture.
That said, Ferrazzi advises against being a pest, and the line between persistent and pest-y can get pretty fine there. Persist, and be self-aware.
With connecting, sometimes the easiest way in isn’t the front door, so to speak. Getting to know gatekeepers (like executive admins), connecting via a mutual friend’s introduction, or building a bridge through your kids’ Brownie troop can all be great ways to meet and serve.
And if there’s someone you’d like to get to know, make a plan on how to get to know them, don’t just leave it to chance. It won’t always work, but what if it does?
Follow up like a boss.
Since connecting is faster/easier/better when there’s trust between people, follow up is a crucial part of the equation. And in this crazy world, it’s a great way to differentiate yourself. Most people don’t because they’re super-busy & don’t prioritize it.
For those of us in consulting roles, being known as a “do-what-you-say-you-will” person is a critical piece of our personal brands. So follow up, say thank you, send a note when you think of someone, and for heaven’s sake, when you tell someone you’re going to do something, do that thing.
What’s your best networking/communications/connection tip? Tell us in the comments below!
p.s. Want even more tips on networking? Check out my blog post.