When entering a new industry, it can be a bit intimidating trying to meet new people. Through my experiences, I have found a few tips that helped me establish new work connections:
1. Find the Best Outlet for You:
There are so many great ways to build new connections in your industry. For example, conferences are an easy way to meet a variety of people. However, out of the 20 people that you meet, you might only stay in contact with one of them. Because of this, it is helpful to try to find people who work in the same field. With similar interests, there is a higher chance of having a natural connection and a desire to stay in touch. While conferences are a great outlet, many people overlook the connections they can make through friends. Developing lasting relationships can be easier if you meet someone through a mutual friend because you already have a higher chance of having something in common with them.
2. Nourish Your Relationships
Just like any other relationship, work relationships must be nourished. A strong connection does not happen overnight. It is extremely important to take the time to support your connections. Whether it is something as small as commenting on their pictures, retweeting a blog post, or congratulating them on an accomplishment, they will notice your efforts. What you put into any relationship is what you will get out of it.
3. Do Not Ask for Favors
Whether a relationship is strictly for business or not, you should never start the relationship by asking for a favor. Remember, this person does not know you or owe you anything. Building new connections is about adding value to that person’s life. Ask them how you can help them or their business, ask about their lives and like I said earlier, support them. When a level of respect and support is established, they will return the favor and be there for you.
4. Be Prepared
New work interactions can often feel awkward but being prepared has helped me spark conversations. Having an elevator pitch prepared is a great way to enter a conversation and introduce yourself. It should inform the person of who you are and how your business might be of value to them. Once the conversation is flowing, it is helpful to ask questions about him or her. This reduces some of the pressure while giving you the opportunity to learn more about them. Also, because the people you met have probably received 50 other business cards that day, it is beneficial to invest in making your business cards unique. Whether it be the thickness or the color of the card, every detail can help to make you stand out!
5. Dress Confidently
We all know the struggle to look professional and chic at the same time. But what we wear sets the stage for how confident we will feel for the rest of the day. When we feel confident in our clothes, it shines through when we are meeting new people. It is all about finding the outfits that make you feel empowered and comfortable in your own skin because I promise, others will notice. However, confidence does not have to mean wearing 5-inch heels. You can still look fashionable in a cute pair of flats and well-fitted trousers. If you find the outfits that make you feel strong AND comfortable, you will be ready to tackle anything!
Building connections are about making an effort to grow each relationship. When we take the time to nourish our relationships, we create a strong network of support.
What are some tips that have helped you build new connections? We would love to hear all about it in the comments below!