As I wrote in a recent blogpost, connecting is really important for me. Finding new people that I enjoy spending time with and growing strong bonds with them is one of my biggest goals. I got inspired to think and write about this topic by listening to Margot Lee’s podcast, called Working Title. In the episodes “My Drug of Choice” and “When You Care Enough To Say The Very Worst”, Margot talks with professionals and friends about how to connect. I listened to these episodes and did some research myself to find a few tips and tricks on this topic. I listed them in this blogpost!
The starting point
The beginning is always the most difficult part; you see someone you would like to approach, but how do you do this without it coming off as strange or random? This is probably the question that a lot of people struggle with and probably also the point where most people give up and decide that connecting is just ‘not their thing’. When in reality, it is as difficult and awkward as you make it to be. Complimenting the person you are approaching or bringing up a mutual friend is always a good way to start the conversation. If you try to be enthusiastic and confident in what you are doing (even if it might be a little faked) the conversation will flow more easily and naturally, since people tend to mirror your behavior.
Pay attention and be present
Once you have surpassed the starting phase of the conversation, it is important to pay attention to what the other person is telling you. Your mind might wonder off given the fact that you have just stepped out of your comfort zone successfully, though it is nevertheless crucial for your interlocutor to feel heard. Especially when you have just kickstarted your connection. You never know; you might be able to link this person to one of your contacts or add valuable knowledge to theirs, which they will surely appreciate. From what I have read and experienced myself, helping the other person out is the way to form long-lasting connections, since you start your connection off on the right foot. Plus, the other person is probably also eager to return the favor and help you when a chance presents itself.
Throughout the conversation it is also a good trick to every once in a while, share something vulnerable. It will make you appear more human and adds to the idea the other person has about your personality. People like other people who are not afraid to tell about awkward moments and share flaws openly; it makes you genuine, a very crucial factor that many seek in new friends/connections.
Keep your promises
If the conversation is almost coming to an end, many people will say ‘let’s keep in touch!’ or ‘let’s grab lunch together some time to further discuss this’. Even though these phrases are said with the best intentions, often the follow-up date is long due or never even happens at all… It makes sense; we are all living busy lives and our schedules are quite full. Though if you really want to make new and valuable connections, it is important that you in some way commit to these people. It might be a no-brainer, but make sure you connect on LinkedIn, exchange Instagram handles or add each other’s phone number, so that you will actually have an easy way to stay in touch and make the follow-up appointment happen. It doesn’t have to be long, it doesn’t have to be very frequently, but if you are liking the connection that you and the person you just met have, it is crucial to plan a ‘second date’ in the near future. This works the best since the conversations you had are still relatively ‘fresh’ and so you can easily take up where you left off.
Go for quality over quantity
Lastly, it is very important to stress that having hundreds and hundreds of connections is not necessary; you only need a few good people in both your private and work life to help you along the way. You might have a thousand connections, but it will be very difficult to keep up with them and actually mutually benefit off of them. Pick the people you surround yourself with, in all fields of life, wisely. And if it feels good for you, keep this circle to an amount that you can actually handle fully; so that you can treat these valuable people the way they deserve to be treated.
I hope you liked reading this blog and that the information was useful. I noticed that for me, it was nice to actually go more in depth into a subject and try to come up with a few points that are (hopefully) beneficial. I am excited to work more on this topic in my life, entering a new stage of my life where I am starting to evaluate and form my circle. I hope you are challenged to do so too!
See you soon.