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How to Network with Anyone

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networking tips

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” - Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People

I don’t care what your goals, industry or interests are, there’s no getting around it: personal relationships run the world. But why is it that some people seem to build instant rapport with most anyone they come across, while others are left with a network of one?

Over the past few years, I’ve conducted a study of exactly what sets these people apart. Turns out, the results are more simple, and more powerful, than you’d think. And they led me to interactions and connections with world-class CEOs, best-selling authors, professional athletes and other seemingly untouchable folks, including Tony Robbins and Warren Buffett.

Regardless of status or fame, people are people. And the 7 pillars of making a connection with another person are always the same — whether applied to your next-door neighbor, one of the world’s biggest celebrities or even the cute girl sitting at the bar:

1. Be genuine

The only connections that work will be the ones that you truly care about; the world will see through anything short of that. If you don’t have a genuine interest in the person with whom you’re trying to connect, then stop trying.

2. Provide massive help

Even the biggest and most powerful people in the world have something they’d like help with. Too many people never reach out to those above them due to the fear that they wouldn’t be able to offer anything in return.

But you have more to offer than you realize: write an article or blog post about them, share their project with your community, offer to spread their message through a video interview with them. Give real thought to who you could connect them with to benefit their goals. If it turns out you can’t be that helpful, the gesture alone will stand out.

3. Pay ridiculous attention

It’s nearly impossible to genuinely offer help if you don’t pay attention — I mean real attention, not just to what business they started or what sport they like! Do your research by reading blog posts, books and articles about the connection beforehand. Learn about their backgrounds and passions. Invest genuine time in learning what really matters to them and how you can help.

4. Connect with people close to them

Most job openings are filled through networking and referrals, and making connections is no different. You automatically arrive with credibility when referred to someone you want to meet by a mutual friend.

For example, I recently wanted to meet a best-selling author, and it turned out we had the same personal trainer. In reality, that fact means nothing, but in the world of social dynamics, it’s gold! Spend more time connecting with your current network of friends and colleagues and see where it leads.

5. Persistence wins most battles

If you can’t get a direct referral, simply click send on that email or leave a message after the beep. But do not stop there, as most the world tends to. The first attempt is just the very beginning. Realize that the first try may get you nowhere, but the fifth or the tenth tries are the ones that start to yield results.

An unreturned email or voicemail doesn’t mean they don’t want to connect with you. It’s your job to be persistent! I sometimes get hundreds of requests in a day from readers who want to connect, but only about 2 percent ever follow up. Don’t be in a hurry, but don’t be invisible either.

6. Make real friends

Think about how you’ve made the friends you have. That’s all this is. You only make friends with people you genuinely want in your life. The same rule should go for bigger-name connections. Don’t over-think it. Be human, be helpful and most humans will happily be human in return, regardless of who they are.

7. Remain unforgettable

All of the above are simple — yet sadly underused — ways of standing out. Send birthday cards. Mail your favorite book with a signed personal note from you on the inside flap. Send them your family Christmas card. Be genuinely helpful. You’d be surprised how the simplest things actually never get done. Being memorable isn’t as hard as some think!

It all comes back to helping others. If you spent 100 percent of your waking hours thinking about how you can help absolutely everyone you come in contact with — from the woman who makes your latte, to the top authority in your industry — you will find everything else tends to take care of itself. The world will suddenly be in your corner.

Scott Dinsmore is the founder of Live Your Legend, a coaching and digital product company helping people build a career around work they love. He’s also a Managing Partner at Cumbre Capital, a value investment partnership modeled after the Buffett Partnerships of the ’50s and ’60s. Scott loves a good adventure. 

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC leads  #FixYoungAmerica, a solutions-based movement that aims to end youth unemployment and put young Americans back to work.

Brazen powers real-time, online events for leading organizations around the world. Our lifestyle and career blog, Brazen Life, offers fun and edgy ideas for ambitious professionals navigating the changing world of work.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1041879589 Scott Messinger

    Here’s the deal. You can’t MAKE yourself interested in people you aren’t normally interested in. There’s a reason why some people “build a instant rapport with almost everyone they come across”. That’s their personality. But not everyone is like that.

    The problem is that all the networking advice out there, in books and articles like that above, assume you can BECOME like those people.

    You can’t.

    And when you try it feels fake, you feel awful, and your networking sucks. This is why networking has such a negative connotation to so many people. They are trying to pretend to be interested in everyone, but they only come off as fake.

    So relax. Make friends. Talk to people who really hold your interest. And if you can count the members of your network on one hand, so what?

    At least it’s real.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002738671074 Ginny Kotok

      Totally agree with this. If it was meant to be, then it will happen.

    • http://twitter.com/BrightonSA BrightonOz

      It’s just not possible to genuinely like everyone in this world. Tolerate them yes, but it’s another story. I am with you on this one Scott.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1194794593 Udaybir Dagar

    Real Good Information……

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000523205724 Manish Gupta

    Small but deep & practically certified column…Gud one..:)

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