When it comes to moving your life forward, few things are more helpful than a good network of people you can call on. Whether that’s finding an investor for a start-up, bouncing ideas off of an expert, getting critiques from someone experienced, or finding a partner to build something with – having a good, large network brings unlimited potential.
But how do you start networking with others? It isn’t as easy as sending an email to someone; sure, you may get to know them a bit more, but you won’t become someone they think highly of and want to help by just emailing them. Rather, you should try to build deeper connections with people you intend to add into your network.
It’s easier than it sounds; just try these three steps:
1. Invite someone out for coffee or lunch
Humans are social creatures, but were also creatures of comfort. Few things put people more at ease than good food or good drinks. By talking with someone while having lunch or drinking coffee, you can immediately put them at ease and find a common, enjoyable experience to share with them. Plus, when the meeting is over and they reflect back on how they felt while talking with you, chances are it will be mainly positive emotions.
2. Ask them for a favor
It may seem counterintuitive, but asking someone for a small favor can actually go a long way towards deepening your relationship with them. People enjoy helping others, and when someone does something for you they will feel as if they’ve accomplished something for you. The success that you have from then on will feel, to them, as if they were a part of that. It doesn’t have to be a big favor to ask, but it’s helpful to ask them something right as your meeting is wrapping up.
3. Follow up with a phone call
Yes, talking on the phone can feel like a hassle. But hearing your voice, and being able to feel your enthusiasm through the phone, can be that extra personal touch needed for you to become cemented in their mind as somebody pleasant. It shouldn’t be a long call; something short, like telling them how much you enjoyed chatting with them at lunch, and how you should do it next Tuesday, is perfect. Try to do this call 1-3 days after your first meeting for best results.
That’s it! It may seem like a lot to handle, but practicing these three steps will help ensure you build a strong, reliable network of great people who want to see you succeed.