In a matter of months, I started to get the hang of networking, which is the foundation to connecting – the real goal. Depending on your age, you may remember an old TV show called Concentration. Click HERE and go to the 3:00 minute mark to get an idea of how the game worked.
Just like the game show, if you can remember where the matching item is hidden, something is revealed – a piece of the puzzle. It’s the same thing when you’re connecting people. Someone is looking to expand their reach or is facing a challenge – do you already know someone who can help them? That’s a very satisfying achievement.
Whenever I sit down with someone, I always bring a pad and pen and ask their permission to take notes. Some amazing things come out during the conversation and there’s just too much to commit to memory.
To make the most of my meetings, I use and highly recommend Evernote. It’s available for iOS, Android, Windows, Mac and even Blackberry. It is free (although I suggest upgrading to the premium version for an additional $5/month or $45/year.) One incredible benefit of Premium is that after you take a picture of your handwritten notes, it will “read” them and make them searchable, like a PDF, so you don’t have to transcribe them.
The first feature you may use is storing the business card of the person you’re meeting with. Take a picture of their card and you can give the card back. Evernote saves a copy of the card, enters it into your contacts and (if you’re connected to LinkedIn), pulls their LinkedIn information (including their picture) and asks if you want to send them an invitation to connect. Fantastic. I could write an entire article about how to use Evernote and how it can help you in endless ways outside of networking, so feel free to ask me more about it when we meet.
The second tool I urge you to download is Refresh. Right now, it’s only available on iOS and Google Glass. Once you connect your accounts into the app (your calendar, email, contacts, Evernote, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc.), Refresh will put together a dossier that tells you everything publicly available about your next meeting.
I know, it sounds creepy and stalkerish, but it’s not. It is amazing. It shows our commonalities among friends and interests, pulls tweets they’ve sent and creates an instant connection you may not make the first time you’re meeting.
Since the ultimate goal in connecting is to “know, like and trust” someone and you can immediately see who they’re associated with, you may be more inclined (as could they) to make the most of your interaction.
While I’m talking about ways to make the most of your connections, here’s another suggestion. Ask the other person to choose where you’ll meet. Tell them you’d like to go to one of their favorite cafes or coffee spots and you’ll be amazed how quickly you’ll build a working knowledge of places other than Starbucks.
I usually like to ask what other networking groups someone belongs to and how they like them – you never know what you’ll discover. Finally, towards the end of your first one-on-one, you might ask them to tell you something most people don’t know about them. When we know each other beyond what our job title is, it’s our chance to humanize each other and really connect.
Have any great advice to share? Post your comments below, I’d love to hear from you.
Until next time…
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(Here’s a hint for following this blog easily. ”Previously” is always hyperlinked to the next article after it’s been posted. ”Next time” will take you back to the previous post. Make sure to click on each person’s name when they’re mentioned and see if they aren’t a possible connection for you. I’d be happy to make the introduction.)
Mark Karten is a connector in New York City. If you’re ready to expand your network of meaningful, relevant relationships, contact Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org.