Whether you are making new friends or connecting with potential business partners and employers, networking is truly one of the most useful skills you can develop in this globalized era we live in.
After living in different cities around the world, I have personally enjoyed the many benefits of reaching out to new people and connecting with a “friend of a friend.” Most importantly, I have corroborated the positive impact of overcoming shyness and proactively introducing myself wherever I go.
Recently, I moved cross-country from New York City to Seattle, during what most people call “not the best time of year” to move to the Pacific Northwest. Although it is cold and rainy out, I have managed to make a group of new friends and find a nice apartment. I love my new job and after only two months in this city, it is already starting to feel like home.
I can say with certainty that I attribute my happy and rewarding globetrotting to a few effective networking tactics, which I want to share with you as “the three-touchpoint rule”:
- Always – and I mean ALWAYS – follow new leads: Connect with new people that you have been introduced to, regardless of whether or not you think you will have any interests in common. Never disregard a new connection or take it for granted. The first touchpoint can be an introductory email, an unplanned phone call, or a social media message.
- Follow up: The first try might not work and it possibly will not be enough to promote that new relationship. A follow up email or a text is necessary, with a broader introduction of yourself, your interests, and what you are looking for.
- Third time’s the charm: You have heard this a thousand times, and at least with networking, I can say it works! Try again a third time, via different means. We all have busy lives, our agendas are full of work, errands, family commitments and more. It is very likely that by the third time you reach out to someone, they will make the time to meet you. After this, if there is no positive answer, then it is time to drop it and move on.
I have used this three-touchpoint rule throughout my adulthood, and the results have definitely enriched my life in ways I never expected. From receiving an amazing job opportunity, to building lifelong friendships around the world, to finding a partner in crime, I am increasingly convinced of the power of networking, and how it can make all aspects of your life sparkle. It is definitely a skill that everyone can learn – as with most skills, you just need to practice it with discipline and perseverance.
Just remember: handing out your business card, adding a contact through your social media networks, or grabbing a coffee with someone new is not enough. The secret behind effective networking is also about staying in touch, taking a genuine interest in that person, making time for them, and allowing them to get to know you.