Since your net worth is created by your network, skillfully growing and managing it should be a top priority of anyone who’s interested in greater stability, safety, and opportunity in life. NFX has even gone so far as to say it dictates much of your life. So if this is the explicit goal, here are some processes and keys I’ve found to reduce friction and increase quality of outcome, and help build relationships faster and stronger.
One of the things you’ll find helpful when networking, is a way to continue the conversation or address potential opportunity in the future. Especially when the synchronous time of an event is limited and you need to make contact with a number of people. If you don’t have a company business card, or even if you do, one such tool is a personal business card. Some of the key features include:
- One side is matte for writing brief notes on (name of event you met at, a resource you mentioned)
- Large high quality headshot picture to help them remember who you are (some people even advocate never changing it, and there is some truth in it)
- QR code (on the back in the matte area, don’t take up all of it though) that links to a reliable link (like your domain that you control, not a bit.ly or other flimsy service that you can’t rely on) with more details
- Clear large font with your best contact info (everyone has worse eyesight than you think)
- Normal card sizing, for some reason I think odd shapes and sizing seem to be pretentious
- Decent – and leaning towards heavy – card stock weight, doesn’t need to be credit card thick, just enough to cause someone to perceive you as more serious and having “gravity” or durability, and not a thin or flimsy person
- Minimal and tasteful color usage, don’t overwhelm the card with colors unless you have a reason to (eg photographer or graphic designer), but 1-3 colors used well will help significantly with cognition and memory
Now that you have something to give them to continue the conversation, here’s a general ideal 3 step process that’s started when someone asks “what do you do?”: Step 1 – respond with a 6 word intro. If they express curiosity, then; Step 2 – share the YWS structure. If they express curiosity, then; Step 3 – invite them to connect further, ideally capture their information as well as offer them yours.
Here’s a networking exercise to develop your 6 word intro as well as YWS:
Now for some general networking advice when you’re out and about:
The best places I’ve found to look for events:
- Professional organizations (Chamber of Commerce, Realtor groups, etc)
When at an event:
Look for people (ideally who are talking in a group), whose shoes are pointed slightly away from each other and aren’t pointing straight towards each other (which indicates a more private conversation).
Then use a confident and warm tone as this is the actual primary signal to the start of a conversation, not as much what you say, it doesn’t have to – and shouldn’t be – clever. Ask them a basic question like why they’re there. This will allow you to feel confident by learning enough about them and what they do to give a brief introduction of them to someone else.
Now introduce them to someone else at the event that they don’t know yet (maybe someone you just met); “Bob, have you met Jim?”, and help facilitate the conversation using the intro you just developed for them. Bonus level is assuming it’s going well, ask both of them out to lunch or dinner along with anyone else you or they meet at a place nearby.
Books to read:
- Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi
- Mastermind Dinners by Jayson Gaignard
- Networking is Not Working by Derek Coburn
As as baseline though, keeping in touch with a primary core **is a key function. This app allows you to do so fairly easily and free for now:
This app is also a huge benefit to keep track of contacts, clean and de-duplicate, as well as transcribe business cards (super helpful for events):
Originally published on 11/24/15, updated 1/14/20