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Building Rapport and Useful Connections

Developing New Connections

You’ve created some good networking opportunities — now what? Well, adding the right people to your network, takes more than just introducing yourself. To be a successful networker, you must be caring and sincere.

This doesn’t mean you need to be the best schmoozer or be great at small talk — you just need basic people skills and the right attitude. There are a few traits you can cultivate to show you are caring and sincere.

Use your communication skills

Honing your communication skills is a great starting point. Good communication is vital for developing new connections. Look for sincere ways to ask about people’s interests; but avoid controversial topics such as politics and religion.

Suppose you’re at a social function and you meet Ashley, who you think could be a valuable contact. You overhear that she’s from the same town you grew up in. Mentioning this would build rapport and give you the chance to ask a few questions about a shared history.

Being open and welcoming

A good attitude and being open and welcoming to others is a huge plus when making connections. Search for ways to contribute and be of service. For instance, from talking with Ashley, you find out that she’s in need of an SEO expert to improve her web site’s visibility.

You actually know of two people who might be able to help, so you tell her you’ll pass on the information when you get back to your office. This shows Ashley that you’re happy to help her and aren’t just interested in what she can offer you.

Express your appreciation

Then there are habits — those little common courtesies that help build relationships. Say thank you and express your appreciation. Pay attention when people are talking and offer them encouragement and support.

After meeting Ashley, you could tuck her business card away and forget about it. Instead, you make sure to e-mail her the promised information. You also reiterate that you enjoyed talking and would gladly help her again.

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